Sola Publishing News and Feedback [Devotions Category] http://solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html?category=19 News, devotions and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1348.html Fri, 20 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; there is no other God than me.” (Isaiah 44:6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together

When we say that we believe in God, we mean the Lord God named by God’s Redeemer in Matthew 28:19. Jesus gave the “name” of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Apostles’ Creed, we address this Trinity wholly and individually. In the first article of the Creed, we initially state our belief in God, then specifically, God the Father. In the following two articles of the Creed, we state our belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles’ Creed we affirm our belief in God: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Though Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God, and therefore almighty, we lay this honor at the Father’s feet in the Creed. In doing so, we are also saying that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are omnipotent. As they are God together, they are together almighty.

Prayer: I believe in you, Almighty Father. Amen.

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Teach Us to Pray is an eight lesson curriculum based around Luther's Small Catechism.  Each lesson has a Bible study connected to the article of the Lord's Prayer covered. A section entitled "About Prayer"  teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week.  A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer and practice it in a variety of ways. This book could be used as part of a larger Confirmation series, or as a "pre-confirmation" Sunday School series for Jr. High and Middle School youth.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1347.html Thu, 19 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image.

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From the Word: The father of the child cried out at once, saying, “I believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Apostles’ Creed 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church (or holy Christian church), the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Pulling It Together

The English word “creed” comes from the Latin credo, which means, “I believe.” A creed is a statement of what one gives credence to, finds credible. This is what is happening when you say the Apostles’ Creed. You are reminding yourself of what you believe, and are recommending your belief as something worthy of acceptance by others (1 Tim 1:15). As such, the Creed is a statement of faith and a tool of evangelism.

Prayer: I believe in you, Lord; help my unbelief. Amen.

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A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

• Part 1  • Part 1 Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Part 2 Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1346.html Wed, 18 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 24 What a wretched person I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24–25)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

We are saved from sin and death through faith in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, sin is not a thing of the past; it is a present reality. Though we pray, “thy will be done,” and we know, even have memorized, the commandments, we cannot keep them. So, one may ask, what is the point?

On one level, the law provides discipline, a restraint against sin. Still, we do not keep the commandments perfectly. At this point, the law of God makes us aware of our sins, so that we may ask the Father to forgive us for Christ’s sake. Most importantly, the law makes us look beyond ourselves. Realizing our condition—that our very nature is corrupt and incapable of being good (Isa 64:6) or being justified with God by our own merits (Psa 143:2)—the sad awareness that the law brings, makes us look for help elsewhere. Thanks be to God that there is indeed help: in Jesus Christ alone.

Prayer: Help me to look to you, Lord Jesus, for forgiveness and peace. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning the Lord's Prayer teaches the Lord's Prayer according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Second Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1345.html Tue, 17 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For physical exercise is a little useful, but godliness is beneficial for everything, having promise for this life and for that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

Pointing toward my stomach, the doctor said that I needed to lose my little friend. I asked, “What, about 20 pounds.” She dryly replied, “More like 30 to 40.” I took her seriously, and began to work on a discipline of exercise and eating not only less food, but better food. I lost 25 pounds because I took the word of my doctor seriously.

If we were as serious about the word of God, the benefits would be of greater profit than weight loss and all that comes with it—less stress on joints and hips and back, clothes that fit better, and so on. God promises not only his grace but every blessing to everyone who keeps his commandments. While we are saved through faith in Christ, not by keeping commandments, there are nevertheless benefits in doing so. Obeying God brings both grace and blessings. Why would we ignore such beneficial counsel?

Prayer: Give me courage and strength, Lord God, to keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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The Letters of Paul looks at all but one of Paul's thirteen epistles and seeks to get at the heart of each one so that his message can inspire new hope, faith, and love in us today.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1344.html Mon, 16 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 12 Not that I have already obtained it, or am already perfected, but I pursue it so that I may acquire it, because Christ Jesus has acquired me. 13 Brethren, I do not consider myself to have acquired it, so I do one thing: forgetting the past, I reach toward the goal. 14 I pursue the goal in the award of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 109

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

This may not be that hard to imagine. Think of the family dinner table with parents and children gathered for the evening meal. Now picture the children glued to their phones. They allow no time for interacting with mother and father because they are captivated by their friends’ posts in social media. This is no way for relations to be an actual family.

Nor will you grow into your faith, or receive “grace upon grace” (John 1:16) from Jesus by ignoring him. Word and Sacrament are necessary; they are the means by which we pursue the goal that we have yet to obtain. The promise is present, just as a child is given the family name, but a Christian is not one in name only. We are to imitate Christ, praying to the Father and listening to his Spirit in Scripture and Sacrament. This is how we are being perfected by God: by being in relationship with him through his Word and the sacraments.

We are pursuing a goal, one promised to those who hold on to God’s promises to the end. God accomplishes this through Word and Sacrament, by our giving him our attention, listening and receiving his grace. This is the way of pursuit that leads to eternal glory, the way that ends with the prize of the “morning star,” Christ Jesus himself (Rev 2:25–28).

Prayer: Help me hold fast to you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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The season of Advent is not only a time of preparation for Christmas, it is a time to consider God's long-term plans and how God has promised that he will intervene in the lives of his people, and the world itself, on the coming Day of the Lord. Prophecy Fulfilled is a four week Bible Study about the Old Testament prophecies of our Lord's Advent, showing how these prophetic words were fulfilled not only in the coming of Christ over 2,000 years ago, but how they also point ahead to the return of Christ in his Second Coming.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1343.html Fri, 13 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5b I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the ancestors upon the children, upon the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:5b-6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

Verse five from the Word today can be a troubling verse, especially if you read the NIV. In that version, it reads: “punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” God does not punish children for the sins of their ancestors. However, the effects of murder, theft, adultery, divorce, lies, dishonoring parents, and generally hating God, can linger for generations.

Nonetheless, those who have faith in God and his Christ, discover that God loves them in spite of their lineage, often breaking the chains of their ancestors. He gives believers a new and noble ancestry, becoming for them the Father of all good things.

Prayer: Help me believe in your love, Father, and keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1342.html Thu, 12 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin”? (Proverbs 20:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

It does not matter how hard you try to be good; you are a sinner. You were born in sin, and as long as you are in this body, you will be a sinner; and you will sin. You should try to keep all of God’s commandments, but you will fail (Acts 15:10). For no one is able to say he is without sin.

The only answer is a life outside of this flesh: a new life. In the new life that God offers through Jesus Christ, the regenerated nature may delight in the law of God, even though the natural nature will inevitably sin (Rom 7:15–20). We are pitiful beings, but thanks be to God for the victory we have over sin, death, and the devil. This conquest is Christ’s doing, not ours. It is not an earned victory, but instead, given to us through faith. All we can do, while yet in this sinful nature, is continue turning to God, confessing our sins, and gratefully accepting his forgiveness.

There is no guilty verdict for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). Christians are conquerors because of their Commander, not because they are good soldiers, because of a gracious judge, not because they are guiltless.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner who loves you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1341.html Wed, 11 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 25 And behold, an authority in the law stood up and put him on trial saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to obtain eternal life?” 26 And he said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you interpret it?” 27 And answering he said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind—and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

When the law crushes us with its demands, as it did the lawyer in today’s Scripture, what are we to do but plead for mercy? Just when we imagine that we might have become experts in religion, God’s laws and even Christ’s example inform us otherwise. This is not the time to distance ourselves from God. It is the very time we should draw near to him, believing he is not only just but gracious and merciful too (Heb 4:16).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for being faithful to forgive me of my sins. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1340.html Tue, 10 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And this is his commandment: that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

All the Commandments are rooted in the First, or as it quickly came to be understood: the greatest or most important commandment (Matt 22:36–40). This greatest commandment sums up all of the commands. So, what does God command us other than what Jesus says: to love him in a manner that depends upon him, that trusts in his name, his character, his reputation? To believe in Christ Jesus is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30–31).

You say that this is impossible, that you do not love the Lord with your whole heart. Luther would agree with you, at least in a legal reading of the Commandments. But consider this the next time you confess that you have not loved him with your whole heart. In that confession, you are wholly trusting him. You are not depending upon yourself, your ability to do better, to cease sinning. At that moment, you are trusting the Father’s forgiveness; you are indeed trusting and loving him with your whole heart.

And so, the impossible becomes possible because of God (Matt 19:26). You are able to trust God completely because of Christ’s reputation. You have faith in that great name, and no other. You see that his is the saving nature, not yours, and so, you have faith in Christ alone. This faith is keeping the Commandments.

Prayer: I believe in you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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In Harmony with the Word is an eight-session Bible Study focusing on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. The study would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1339.html Mon, 09 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

God’s jealousy over us is ready to ignite. The word for fire in the Latin Vulgate is ignis, from which we get our English word “ignite.” The Lord’s wrath is ready to explode when we do not fear, love, and trust him. Therefore, we should fear him so that we are careful to please him. Yet, we should also love him and trust his love for us, so that even when we sin, we are confident of a loving Father who is ready to forgive us all our sins for Christ’s sake (1 John 1:9).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a believing heart, one that trusts in you for the forgiveness of all my sins. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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This volume in the series, "Old Places, New Faces," The General Epistles offers a series of 12 Bible studies based on Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, and Jude. The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1337.html Fri, 06 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.

Pulling It Together

There is a difference between what your heart desires and what your flesh desires. As you find more and more joyful satisfaction, even sheer delight, in God’s company, you will find your heart desiring godly things. The Holy Spirit brings this to pass. Though the flesh still craves, God is also making you yearn for spiritual things. Delight in him, and he will delight to give you the latter.

Prayer: Give me the spiritual strength today, Lord, to hunger and thirst for you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1336.html Thu, 05 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Romans 16:25-27

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Secondly, the subject itself declares that works follow faith, and show that faith is not dead, but living and effective in the heart. Therefore, James did not believe that we earn the forgiveness of sins and grace by good works. For he speaks of the works of those who have been justified, who have already been reconciled and accepted, and have obtained forgiveness of sins. So, the adversaries are mistaken when they infer that James teaches that we merit remission of sins and grace by good works, that by our works we have access to God, without Christ as propitiator.

Pulling It Together

The old real estate expression, “Location, location, location,” might be modified when it comes to reading. “Context, context, context,” is crucial when interpreting a text. Otherwise, one may end up buying into the wrong teaching. James has been teaching about what real faith is, and uses works as a proof of faith. His subject is faith: “Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14). Everything read in this section, if read in context, refers back to faith. Therefore, if one has saving faith in Christ, works that glorify God will ensue. First, Christ satisfies God’s righteousness, then because we believe in his sacrifice for our sin, we are made righteous because of him. Only those works that are attached to his righteousness are acceptable to God. One may do religious deeds for a lifetime, but they will never save. Yet, a sinner, having never done anything good, may finally believe and be saved because of Christ alone. That sainted sinner will then seek to be obedient to the gospel, to continue in a true and living faith that glorifies God. Chrysostom said it well: “As faith without works is dead, so are works without faith dead.”

Prayer: Make my faith in you a living faith so that you are glorified in my life, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

You may download a free, color PDF file of the 2019-2020 Year A calendar under the Home tab above, then clicking Free Resources.

For those who want calendars on glossy cardstock, printed copies of the Sola Liturgical Calendar may be ordered. Print or purchase calendars for sacristy, pastor, and secretary. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1335.html Wed, 04 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Speak to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, and say to them, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.

Pulling It Together

We should fear and love God so that we do not make plans to steal anything or anyone that belongs to our neighbors. Indeed, we should so fear and love God that we do not even consider such a thing. For evil desires are also sin. Who has avoided both the doing and the thinking about doing? We all sin in thought and deed, or even as we declare in the Brief Confession: “in thought, word, and deed.” All the while, we are constrained to be holy like God is holy. What are we to do, if we take the Scripture seriously? How are we to be holy, holy like God?

We have two options. The first is horrible; the second meets the need. We might take upon ourselves a regimen of pharisaical living, in which we act quite religious and try to convince ourselves that we are not sinners like everyone else. We will not convince the others any more than we convince ourselves.

Or we may finally and fully believe there is a “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). If so, we are made holy by the sacrifice of God’s Lamb (Heb 10:10), not by religious devotion. We do not make ourselves holy; God does that by forgiving our sins (Eph 1:7) based on the offering of a perfect Lamb (Heb 9:14). This is how a person becomes holy; she is simply given the “righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21), being dressed in the holy robes of Christ himself in baptism (Gal 3:27).

When you sin—and when you are tempted to fix your sin by being holy—remember that you are already baptized into Christ Jesus. You are already holy: not your holiness, but Christ’s. Confess your sin, and give thanks that God forgives sinners. What else can you do but lift the cup of salvation and be thankful enough to drink (Psa 116:13)?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1334.html Tue, 03 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 For the law: you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet—and if there is any other commandment—is summarized in this statement: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore, is the fullness of the law. (Romans 13:9–10) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.

Pulling It Together

The Ninth Commandment deals with craving your neighbor’s goods, those inanimate possessions of your neighbor. The Tenth Commandment speaks about lusting after living things that are your neighbor’s, whether family or not—indeed, human or not: spouse, employees, farm animals, as well as domestic. We are not to yearn for anything that is in our neighbor’s care, but instead, take care of our own matters, and where possible, help our neighbor care for his own. This care for our neighbor demonstrates the sacrificial love that is to be the overarching ethic of all Christian relationships, just as it is the chief principle of the relationship between God and humanity.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving me; help me to love my neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Customized edition

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1333.html Mon, 02 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an occasion for the flesh, but through love be servants to each other. (Galatians 5:13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together

The example of Christ instructs us to serve one another. Because of his love, alive within us through the Holy Spirit, we look for opportunities to care for our neighbors, instead of seeking a chance to steal their property. Indeed, the idea is so foreign to us, that we would not consider the idea of taking what is not ours. We understand—again, because of the Spirit of God who lives in us—that what we have is a gift from God. So, we do not plot to take another’s goods, knowing that we would be stealing God’s gift, which is tantamount to robbing God. Who would consider such a thing? More importantly, Christ’s love enjoins us to do better, to live at a higher level, to care for our neighbors as God cares for us.

Prayer: Show me my neighbor’s need, Father, and give me the means to meet it. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1332.html Fri, 30 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 3 Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others more significant than yourselves. 4 Each should look not only to his own things, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3–4) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together

If we trust God, we are able to be interested in more than ourselves. God will take care of us, so we are freed up to take care of others. In the most basic sense, if parents only cared for themselves, who would look after the children? Parents pay attention to the needs of their children because they have set aside their own wishes. If a mother or father only looks to selfish desires, the child is abandoned. This basic understanding may be applied to one’s neighbor, the people at church, at work. What are their interests and needs? Do you know?

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, and my heart. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1331.html Thu, 29 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Mark 7:31–35

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The Third Part

The following articles deal with matters that may be considered with learned and reasonable people, or among ourselves. The pope and his government do not care much about these things, since the conscience is nothing to them, while money, honors, and power are everything.

Pulling It Together

What can you do with those who cannot or will not hear? If they will not listen, as reasonable people make a point to do, how will they be able to obey God’s Word? In Hebrew, the word for “listen,” also means “obey.” To truly listen to God’s Word means obedience to his word. It is no wonder some will not listen to the words of Scripture. Their ears are plugged and they like it that way. This is a real disability, but one that Jesus can easily heal. Jesus will open the ears of those who would truly hear, making them also able to speak plainly with others.

Prayer: Open my ears, Lord, so that I may obey your word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Disciples of the Cross is a two-part Bible study addressing the topic of Christian discipleship from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Part 1: Who We Are is an introduction to the theology of discipleship, laying the biblical groundwork for what it means to be called to live the life of faith as a follower of Jesus. 

The study may be used in conjunction with various discipleship programs and studies to highlight themes from the Lutheran tradition that are not often addressed in many discipleship materials. These include: a Theology of the Cross, the centrality of the Word and Sacrament, an understanding of the Means of Grace, and a recognition of the Christian as both "Saint and Sinner."

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1330.html Wed, 28 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we are unable to carry anything out of it. 8 But having sustenance and clothing, we will be content with these. (1 Timothy 6:6–8) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together

The fear and love of God ought to constrain us from taking the property of others. The trust of God should make us content with what we have. This does not keep us from working hard, trying to make life better for ourselves and for those whom we love. It should, however, restrain us from plotting to take what does not belong to us. Indeed, the fear, love, and trust of God should compel us to work for our neighbors’ good, to help them not only keep what they already have, but even assist them, working to increase their share in life.

Prayer: Lord, show me how to be a good neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All God’s Critters is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1329.html Tue, 27 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Above all, maintaining diligent love among yourselves, for love conceals a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not betray, slander, lie, or gossip about our neighbors, but defend them, speak well of them, and put the most charitable construction on all that they do.

Pulling It Together

There may be little worse than carrying a grudge. It lessens the life of the person holding the grudge, as well as the one for whom the grudge is held. We confess to be the “communion of saints” where there is “forgiveness of sins.” Now, the Apostles’ Creed is referring to the forgiveness of God. However, if there is real community of Christian people, there is forgiveness among them too. This is precisely what we pray: “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Real love conceals umbrages; it covers them, no longer to be seen, mentioned, or remembered (Prov 10:12).

Prayer: Give me, O Father, the Spirit of your Son so that I may love your church. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Rejoice in the Lord, Always! is a nine week study examines some of the most treasured verses in Scripture, in ways that are encouraging and realistic about our life in faith. Celebrating both the tensions and the joys of discipleship, Paul reminds us of Who it is that makes us a community as we share our lives together in a common commitment to Christ.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1328.html Mon, 26 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 16 These are the things that you shall do. Every one of you speak the truth with your neighbor; pronounce truthful judgments and peace in your gates. 17 Do not plot evil in your heart against your neighbor, and do not love a deceitful oath, for all these are things that I hate, declares the Lord. (Zechariah 8:16–17) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not betray, slander, lie, or gossip about our neighbors, but defend them, speak well of them, and put the most charitable construction on all that they do.

Pulling It Together

God is listening. He listens to our hearts, as well as our words. Even our intentions, our deepest desires, are known to him. We are to fear and love him to such a level that we dread our neighbor’s harm—whether at our own hands or another’s. We are to strive for his peace and prosperity, not imagine ways to undo him. God is listening.

Prayer: Give me your peace, Lord, so that I may live your peace in times of temptation. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

God's Reluctant Leaders is a nine-session Bible Study focuses on the stories of three biblical characters: Jonah, Gideon, and Moses. Sessions explore how God works to create faith within those whom He calls to serve His mission. The study is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. It would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

To view the Leader's Guide click HERE.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1327.html Fri, 23 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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1 Timothy 4:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

On the other hand, all the sermons in our churches are occupied with such topics as repentance, the fear of God, faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, the consolation of consciences by faith, the exercises of faith, prayer—what its nature should be and that we should be fully confident that it is heard and is effective, the cross, the authority of magistrates and all civil ordinances, the distinction between the kingdom of Christ (or the spiritual kingdom) and political affairs, marriage, the education and instruction of children, chastity, and all the works of love. From this report of our churches it may be judged that we diligently maintain church discipline, godly ceremonies, and good customs in the church.

Pulling It Together

Paul exhorts the young pastor to devote himself to three practices in his ministry: being sure that the Scriptures are read in services of worship, and preaching and teaching the Word of God. This is what the Church needs, though it is not necessarily what the people in congregations want. Too many of our churches want money managers, hand holders, back patters, and meeting goers who go by the name of Pastor but are afforded little time to actually fulfill their office.

The Church must make sure its pastors are allowed to absorb themselves in the office of God’s calling, not in the job description of a Council’s choosing. Then our pastors may faithfully read, preach, and teach God’s word in a way that is beneficial to their congregations.

Prayer: Give me the discipline, Lord, to immerse myself in your word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1326.html Thu, 22 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson, a Throwback Thursday devotion from August 22, 2016. 

1 Corinthians 1:20–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

Among the adversaries, in many regions, no sermons are delivered during the entire year except in Lent. Yet the chief worship of God is the preaching of the gospel. When the adversaries do preach, they speak of human traditions, of the worship of saints, and similar trifles which the people justly loathe. Therefore, they are deserted as soon as the text of the gospel has been recited. A few of the better ones are now speaking of good works, but they say nothing about the righteousness of faith, faith in Christ, or the consolation of consciences. Indeed, they rail with reproaches at this most wholesome part of the gospel.

Pulling It Together

The gospel of God’s grace through Christ was snubbed as something “Lutheran” in the 16th century. In the 21st century, other gospels persist in churches. In their roots, these various false gospels are the same that Luther contended with and that the Apostle Paul fought against. They are a so-called gospel of works righteousness. The prosperity gospel and the social (or activist) gospel are two of many such false gospels in our world today. Giving in order to gain is obviously a works-centered belief. A church that rallies around the latest cultural correctness and that believes God favors them for doing so, is also focused on a righteousness of works.

But we teach a much different gospel than these. “We preach Christ crucified.” This is a point of stumbling and offense for many but to those who are called, Christ is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23–24). Christ is our righteousness, and his cross our rallying point. This is what must be preached and taught in our churches, lest human traditions and Christless religion soon overtake us.

Prayer: Ever draw me, O God, to the power and wisdom of Christ crucified. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In One Word” is a Christmas program that tells the story of the nativity in the fictionalized format of a first century game show. The script is reproducible for use of the children. The program is able to accommodate eight character parts, plus a primary narrator (also able to be divided among multiple students). Simple biblical costuming and props are suggested. The script also includes music lead sheets for the Christmas carols that are a part of the program.

Click HERE to see the introduction and a couple of sample pages.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1325.html Wed, 21 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 8 Above all, maintain being diligent in the love among yourselves, for love covers a host of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one to another—without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8–9) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not betray, slander, lie, or gossip about our neighbors, but defend them, speak well of them, and put the most charitable construction on all that they do.

Pulling It Together

How long would you expect people to stay at a party where the host walks around complaining about the party guests? When entertaining, one is considerate of the guests, shows interest in their lives, and even their opinions. Concern for the welfare of the guest is the measure of true hospitality. This kind of ancient hospitality hearkens back to a kinder day when travelers might be welcomed into a home. Imagine being such a wanderer, brought in to someone’s home for the evening. They provide you with supper and even a bed to sleep in, but the owners of the house bicker and complain throughout the evening. Eventually, they begin to grumble about all the visitors who come to their door, looking for a handout.

The church is to be passionate about hospitality. So when your church holds their next potluck, and you end up having to do all the dishes, or cleaning up after that particular family, do it without complaint. Speak of those folks as though you love them. Forgive them. The sin that is covered in doing so, may not be theirs alone.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, give me the heart of Jesus. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In Part 2 of Sola Scriptura, "The Norm of Faith" study shows how an active view of the Word informs and guides our understanding of what Scripture says. In other words, it will talk about what the Bible means based on what it does. In terms of how we come to articulate our faith and our doctrinal teachings, to speak of Scripture as the "norm" of faith means that it is the standard against which our theology and proclamation are measured.

• Leader's Guide   • See also Sola Scriptura, Part 1: The Source of Faith

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1324.html Tue, 20 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Love endures, is kind; love is not jealous; love is not proud, is not arrogant, 5 not inappropriate. It does not demand its own way, is not provoked, does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 suffers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4–7) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 94

The Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not betray, slander, lie, or gossip about our neighbors, but defend them, speak well of them, and put the most charitable construction on all that they do.

Pulling It Together

What if God did not think the best of us? We would be hopeless. If each time he looked at us, he thought of us as irredeemable, each time he heard us, he considered us deplorable, each time he knew our hearts and minds, he found us sickening, we would be despondent.

Instead, the Father thinks the best of us by viewing us through the filter of his Son. May we see our brothers and sisters in the same way—endure them if necessary, but hope for their best because of Christ.

Prayer: Give me your patient strength, Lord, so that I may be patient with others. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola Publishing has added an online resource component to its education materials called SEED: the Sola Electronic Education Database. This new subscription-based resource provides teachers with tools to build a Sunday School program and lead classes for children, youth, and adults, with original resources printed in full color! The year's curriculum provides a full Bible overview — from Genesis to Revelation — with a collection of online media for each lesson, including new artwork, video presentations, updated teaching ideas, crafts, and more! 

Call 336-226-8240 to set up a 30-day trial. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1322.html Fri, 16 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But reverence with contentment is great increase. (1 Timothy 6:6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

Are you content with God? Do you trust him? Do you fear him, love him? For the one who is content with God, there is no need of anything more, no need to steal from another. For the person who trusts God, there will be enough. There may not be all that was hoped for, but there will be adequacy for the need. For the one who fears, theft is out of the question, for God does not suffer unrighteous people (1 Cor 6:9–10). The person who loves God, will love neighbor also, not stealing from others, but helping them increase their portion. For the person who fears and loves God, is content with what God provides. This contentment is not religious, but very real, because Christ Jesus has become our sufficiency (Phil 4:11)—not only for godliness but also for life (2 Pet 1:3).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase my faith so that I might be content in you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Kinderbeten is a compelling story touching on the exercise of free religion, the religious wars in Europe, the roots of Evangelicalism, the supernatural, and more, all wrapped up in a religious revival which began not through a charismatic revivalist or any adult at all, but rather found it's origin with children aged four to fourteen. The children became pawns in a controversy between political and religious opponents. Indulge your curiosity and read the remarkable story about the King of Sweden and the 1707-08 Children's Revival in Silesia, a tale of hope and prayer.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1321.html Thu, 15 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson, a Throwback Thursday edition from August 15, 2015.

Ephesians 2:4–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Anthony, Bernard, Dominicus, Franciscus, and other holy Fathers selected a certain kind of life either for the sake of study or other useful exercises. In the meantime, they believed that they were accounted righteous through faith, and that God was gracious to them for Christ's sake, not because of their spiritual exercises. But since then, the multitude has not imitated the faith of the Fathers, but their activities without faith, thinking that they might earn the forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness by such works. They did not believe that they received these freely because of Christ the propitiator.

Pulling It Together

Being a pastor or missionary is not a free ticket to heaven. While the work that such people do is important to the kingdom of Christ, it is only faith in Christ that opens the gates of heaven. A pastor may labor for a lifetime to swing those gates but they will not budge without faith. Only the righteous will enter that blessed rest. Now, that would keep us all out of heaven—except for the work of Christ. Those who have faith in him are assigned his righteousness. Without his righteousness, no one will pass through.

I received a text this morning. It was an electronic boarding pass for a flight home. My wife had purchased my ticket, and then had the airline send the boarding pass to my phone. Now, without this pass, I will never get home. More to the point, while I was busy doing pastoral work, my wife made sure I could get home. Once I get to the airport, I could argue all day about being a pastor and that I was busy doing the work of the kingdom. They still will not allow me on the flight. It is her work that will get me home. You were created for good works, and you should live a life of Christian service, but it is faith in the work of Christ on the cross that brings you home.

Prayer: Lord, empty me of trust in my efforts, and help me rely on you alone. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experience Life Together: Experiencing House-Church Ministry, by Rev. Tom Hilpert, is a 15-week house-church curriculum designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1320.html Wed, 14 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who desires to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

We must read the Bible with the eyes of faith, instead of allowing feelings to interpret Scripture. Too often, passages like today’s verse leave us with a sense of guilt. We remind ourselves: I drove right by that homeless guy with the sign asking for money on my way to work this morning. Bless our hearts; we were driving to work to take care of those whom God entrusted to our care, not to give away their means of support. We have a responsibility to those whom God has enjoined by vocation. For example, if God has placed you in the role of parent, that vocation requires giving and lending to those in need: your spouse and child. Do not give their living to someone whom God has not placed in your life. That would be stealing from those whom God has entrusted to your care.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to be faithful to my vocation. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. 

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1319.html Tue, 13 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For even when we were with you, we declared this command to you: if anyone is not willing to work, he does not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

Everyone plays a part. If that part is neglected it diminishes the whole. The rest must pick up the slack, and carry the burden of feeling as though they must take care of those who refuse labor. God’s justice is different than society’s. In the early church, he commanded that those who would not work, would not eat. Maybe it was meant to be motivation—perhaps justice. We might call it reasonableness or common sense. Whatever we call it, it is God’s command. Do not allow society to make you feel otherwise. Those who beg from the church, when they are able to work, are thieves. All have their jobs to do, vocations that are to be worked at peacefully, so that they may earn their living and share it with those who legitimately need help.

Prayer: Give me the strength, Lord, to say yes to work and no to those who will not work. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experience Life Together: Experiencing House-Church Ministry, by Rev. Tom Hilpert, is a 15-week house-church curriculum designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1318.html Mon, 12 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Woe to the one who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve for nothing, and does not pay him his wages. (Jeremiah 22:13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

Our Scripture reference today was originally written about Jehoiakim, king of Judah from 609 to 598 BC. He made his citizens build his palace but did not pay them. He cheated them out of their labor. The same “woe” is announced to any employer who does not pay, or even properly pay, an employee. The reverse is also true: woe to an employee who receives a paycheck without having done the work. And to those who do injustice to their neighbors by stealing their goods, hacking their accounts, defrauding them in any way: woe! Disaster and despair awaits them. The Lord of justice is not duped.  

Prayer: Give me your righteous character, Lord, so that I may love my neighbor, and thereby, love you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Portraits of Jesus is a nine-session Bible study that explores the "I AM" statements given to us by Jesus himself. In comparing Jesus' words with related Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, the study provides a well-rounded look at the center of our faith in Christ.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1317.html Wed, 07 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Let the one who stole steal no more, but instead, toil, working at what is good with his own hands so that he has something to share with one in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

Again, the keeping of the commandments begins with the fear and love of God. Nevertheless, we cannot perfectly keep this Seventh Commandment any more than we can perfectly love God. So, there will be failure, trespass, sin. Still, some considerable progress may be made with this commandment. There is something that may be done to help observe this commandment more completely. Get a job! This is a good beginning at not stealing. It is not the complete answer, but laboring hard, toiling until weary, is honest and wearisome. It leaves little room for getting into trouble. It also provides an income so that one need be not overly concerned about having enough for personal needs. Indeed, one might even discover he is in a position to benefit others.

Prayer: Lord God, give me honest labor that I may honor you in my vocation. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

   

Disciples of the Cross is a two-part Bible study addressing the topic of Christian discipleship from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Part 1: Who We Are is an introduction to the theology of discipleship, laying the biblical groundwork for what it means to be called to live the life of faith as a follower of Jesus. Part 2: What We Do is an introduction to the practice of discipleship, using the Lord's Prayer to take us through key aspects of our life of faith as followers of Jesus.

The study may be used in conjunction with various discipleship programs and studies to highlight themes from the Lutheran tradition that are not often addressed in many discipleship materials. These include: a Theology of the Cross, the centrality of the Word and Sacrament, an understanding of the Means of Grace, and a recognition of the Christian as both "Saint and Sinner."

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1316.html Tue, 06 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the WordI am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. 4b …and his banner of me was love. (Song of Solomon 2:1, 4b)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

The force of the Sixth Commandment may be understood in one version of the ring vows: “with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.” When one truly fears and loves God, the neighbor is also honored. The closest neighbor, one’s wife or husband, is honored to the degree of being cherished. This is why we address them in metaphors such as “honey,” “dear,” sweetheart,” and so forth. These words convey the value we place in that nearest neighbor. That relationship therefore, must be treasured to the point that nothing is allowed to bring it harm—especially the other spouse. Love, the flag or banner flown over that relationship, must prevail at all costs. Both words and actions are disciplined to the degree that they express the great worth of this dearest neighbor. That discipline includes asking their forgiveness when we do not carefully speak and act. This honors both the relationship with spouse and with God.  

Prayer: Help me fear and love you, Lord, in a way causes me to love my neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All God’s Critters is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1315.html Mon, 05 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Flee from sexual immorality. Every sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

Paul urges the Corinthians to flee from sexual sin. This would include fornication and adultery, to name a few. One flees something by running away. Yet, the wise person does not run aimlessly; rather he runs toward a different, better goal. Otherwise, one might run from something evil into something else that is evil, or as we say, from the frying pan into the fire. Have a goal in mind for when temptation occurs.

Later in this first letter of Paul to the church in Corinth, he tells them to flee idolatry too. The two—sexual immorality and idolatry—seem connected in the apostle’s thoughts. This may give us a clue as to where to fly when temptation to sexual sin strikes. Flee from that sin—to God. The old catechisms tell us to escape the fire of sexual sin by quenching it under the flow of God’s Word and prayer. We should also avoid the occasions that these temptations seek. No longer go where the temptations lurk; go where God is to be found. Flee! Flee to him.

Prayer: Create a clean heart with me, O God. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1314.html Wed, 31 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the WordIf then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Focus on the things above, not on the things upon the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1–3) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

Paul teaches us to disregard the false teachers in our lives, those who would hold any religious thing, any material or earthly thing, over our heads. There are those who insist we must satisfy their particular religious rant in order to be a true Christian. Nonetheless, we must never let our focus go beyond Jesus. There are even those who claim we must perfectly keep the commandments, or else we are not filled with the Spirit. These only serve to sharpen our focus on religion and ourselves, our abilities to perform. Dead men do not perform. Their eyes are filled with deepest pitch. Those who have been given new life through faith in Christ, see brightest light, the Light who is Christ Jesus. Even when they fail to perform, try as they might, their sights are ever set on Christ—not just his commands but his forgiveness as well.Prayer: Give me the courage and strength, Lord, to keep seeking you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according to Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism – Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1313.html Tue, 30 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word11 You were also circumcised in him with a circumcision not man-made, in the undressing of the sinful humanity of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ: 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the work of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 You were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature. God made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins. (Colossians 2:11–13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

It is helpful to remember that you are baptized. In Christian baptism, Christ removed your sin, though that old nature would still rear its evil head in this life. So, you must often consider that your old nature is now dead to God, and with it, human nature’s sin. The old person is left behind in the water; a new person has arisen through faith in God’s work in Christ Jesus. While in this body, you will remain a sinner who needs forgiveness daily. You should strive to keep the commandments; but you will fail in the effort. Nonetheless, God’s work prevails over your sins. Your sins are nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). Leave them there, remembering it is not your sinful nature that now lives in you, but instead, the power of God at work in Christ Jesus (Rom 7:16–17).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for making a way to you through Christ. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1312.html Mon, 29 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word11 Likewise, you know the occasion, that the moment has arrived for you to arise from sleep; for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, and the daylight is advancing, so let us cast away the deeds of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk appropriately, as in the day—not in partying and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and indulgence, not in bitterness and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no consideration for the flesh, for its evil cravings. (Romans 13:11–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

We tend to consider the Sixth Commandment only in terms of sex. Yet, unfaithfulness to one’s spouse—whether human or divine—begins in the heart. It then, spreads to the lips and only afterwards, to the whole body. Both Paul and Luther teach us that appropriate Christian character goes beyond fleshly considerations: to words, and ultimately, to the heart. These follow the course of Jesus’ teaching, that evil intentions spring from the heart and find expression in the outward parts (Mark 7:14-23). So, the Small Catechism rightly urges chastity in terms of love, not merely sex, and in right words and actions, not simply sexual immorality. Faithfulness is a heart matter that unless armored by a right fear and the bright love of God, will end in the darkest deeds of human behavior.

Prayer: Remind me throughout this day, Holy Spirit, that I have put on the nature of Christ Jesus through baptism; and help me walk in that newness of life. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1311.html Fri, 26 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 4 And [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother behind, and shall cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 Therefore, they are no longer two, but one flesh. What then God has joined, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

The Song of Solomon has many beautiful images, perhaps none so striking as Song of Solomon 2:4. “He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (Song 2:4 NASB). The groom has brought his bride into his home, under the protection of his battle standard, his military flag. It is a sign in the field of battle, that the group under this banner fights together. In Song of Solomon, the groom has brought his wife into his home under the sign of his love. She is more than simply secure under the husband’s banner: she is part of the force. The two have become one, dynamic life.

This is God’s doing and design. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt 19:6 RSV).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for flying your banner of love over me, and over your whole church. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1310.html Wed, 24 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word27 You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

Breaking the marriage covenant is not simply a physical matter. Adultery begins in the heart, with lust and intention or will. Jesus teaches us that it is possible to commit adultery mentally, in the deepest way: in the heart, as we say. This is an act of unfaithfulness, not only to one’s spouse, but also to God and to the Christian community. Just as brothers and sisters in Christ witness marriage between a man and a woman, God does too. He is the primary witness of the marriage covenant (Mal 2:14), a relationship that demonstrates the love of God for his church (2 Cor 11:2). Adultery severs this bond between two people whom God has made one (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:31). Lusting after another is a demonstration that the heart is not in the right place; one’s affections are neither for one’s spouse nor for God.

In this passage, Jesus is concerned with the heart, with our affections. We are to love God with our whole being (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:36–40), beginning with the heart and mind—the will. He commands us to love our neighbor in the same way, beginning with our closest neighbor: wife or husband. Love begins in the heart; so does sin. When the heart wanders from love to lust, remember that Christ calls sinners like us to repentance (Luke 5:32) and faithfulness.

Prayer: Give me such love for you, O God, that I love my neighbor as myself. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven, and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

Free Educational Resources on the Afterlife

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1309.html Tue, 23 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Let marriage be esteemed among all, and let the bed be undefiled, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. (Hebrews 13:4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

It is vital that Christians honor the marriage bed, especially when culture plays fast and loose with the Sixth Commandment. We must make it an emphasis because our consciences are impaired by our nature and by TV, movies, books, and the Internet—and frankly, by the people around us. All the while, we are each under his scrutiny (Prov 15:3). God will repay all people for the deeds they have committed (Rom 2:6). So, we should fear God, as none are exempted from judgment. The real fear of God then, leads us to love our spouses as God loves us (Eph 5:22–25).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your great love of me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This free download provides an overview of Sola Publishing’s online worship resource: SOWeR. There are sample pages from the website to provide you with a sense of the variety of content offered in this subscription-based resource. Subscribe here. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1308.html Mon, 22 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, and delivered himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But sexual immorality—and all filthiness or covetousness—is not even to be mentioned among you, as is appropriate for saints. 4 And let there be no obscenity, nor foolish talk, nor vulgarity, which are not proper, but rather may there be thanksgiving. 5 For you know this with certainty: that each fornicator or unclean or covetous person—who is an idolater—has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:1–5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

The sexually immoral person is an idol worshiper. The one who covets a neighbor’s spouse or anything else in that person’s household, is essentially, as the King James Version puts it, a whoremonger (Ephesians 5:5 KJV), one who visits the pagan temples and the prostitutes who worked them. There may be no temples with prostitution in your city, but the covetous behavior is identical. We should fear and love God so that husbands and wives are content with his will, that they are devoted to and content with their own spouse. Anything less than this, is ungodly, covetous idolatry.  

Prayer: Strengthen me, O Lord, and give me a courageous spirit, that I may speak and act as you expect. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Did you know that SOWER contains a worship music database with hundreds of hymns and songs? Each one features author information, plain-text lyrics, full-score hymn graphics, and simplified lead sheets for accompanists. This is a great resource for building bulletins and powerpoint presentations. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1307.html Fri, 19 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word

10 Create a pure heart in me, O God;
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence;
And do not take your Holy Spirit away from me. (Psalm 41:10–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 78

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

It has always been easy to have a polluted heart; indeed, we are born with such hearts, and are bent on folly. Consider David, who from a rooftop, looked upon Bathsheba with evil in his heart. He was a dirty, rotten, stinking sinner—whom the Lord loved. David loved the Lord too; but this did not keep him from running after a desirable woman. Nor did it keep him from covering up the sin, even when it meant taking the life of a woman’s husband, in an effort to keep his own infidelity secret.

Though God commands us to chastity, to faithfulness to one’s spouse, as he had commanded King David, our eyes wander, our lips are unclean. What are we to do? Try harder? Good luck with that, is all I can offer. History is filled with Davids, who tried hard and came up empty, of those who tried to be righteous but discovered their nature is weak (Matt 26:41). There is one thing, and one thing only, that makes the difference. “Watch and pray”; admit that you are a sinner, like David, who needs God to give you a clean heart, and make you righteous through his own pure righteousness. Throw yourself upon his mercy, begging him to give you a spirit so resolute that you run again to God, as David did, even in the face of what you imagine unforgivable. God is faithful and just to forgive you because of Christ, not because of your efforts, or even your momentary successes.

Prayer: Forgive me, O Lord, a sinner. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola Publishing has added an online resource component to its education materials called SEED: the Sola Electronic Education Database. This new subscription-based resource provides teachers with tools to build a Sunday School program and lead classes for children, youth, and adults, with original resources printed in full color! The year's curriculum provides a full Bible overview — from Genesis to Revelation — with a collection of online media for each lesson, including new artwork, video presentations, updated teaching ideas, crafts, and more! 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1306.html Wed, 17 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a partner similar to him.” 19 Now the Lord God formed out of the ground every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all the land animals, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam, there was not found a partner like him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept. And he took one of his ribs, and closed up the place with flesh. 22 And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man, he made into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This now, is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall bond to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18–24)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together

The Sixth Commandment is worded in the negative, but we readily perceive that “thou shalt not” (Exod 20:14 KJV) implies we must also do something. The commandment about adultery states what we must not do, yet indicates what we are to do. Instead of wandering outside of marriage for sexual satisfaction, one is to be joined to the partner whom God has created. This is the positive way of understanding the Sixth Commandment. It is hard to find a better word here than Wycliffe’s “clefe”—updated to “cleave” in the King James Version (Mark 10:7). Clefing or cleaving is not a dividing but a unity, an adherence to someone, a holding onto a partner, a tight-fitting loyalty, a faithful devotion and holding true to what has become “one flesh.”  

Prayer: Thank you for the partnership in the gospel, Lord, which you give to all who are blessed with the vocation of marriage. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14). 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1305.html Tue, 16 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word6 Do not worry about anything, but make your requests about everything known to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. 7 And the peace of God, which excels all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

We live in a time that is sometimes lamented as a post-Christian era in the United States. Complaints range from social media shutting out anything Christian, to the public square no longer allowing the church a voice. It is true enough: although some town Councils still have prayer before their meetings, even the smallest of communities feel the pressure to offer either a more general religious voice or none at all. What are Christians to do in such times?

American Christians are spoiled; we have lived in “one country under God” for hundreds of years. It is what we have always known—until now—and what we think should still be. The early church was under no such illusion. The church in other parts of the world today are also not so deluded. Here in America, however, we hope complaining will fix the problem.

First, the culture is not the problem; we are the problem. Complaining is not living the life of a disciple. Instead of grumpily whining, we ought to be carrying the peace of Christ into the lives of those we encounter every day. You have to admit, moaning about our dissatisfactions does not look too peace-filled. The complaining nature is a killer; it breaks the Fifth Commandment, often, without realizing it is doing so.

So, let us stop fearing the contemporary, and cease loving the past. Let us begin fearing and loving God instead, so that we, not only do no bodily harm, but not cause our neighbors any other kind of suffering. Suppose we feared and loved God in a way that prays for our neighbors, helps them, and befriends them in every need. Perhaps in this manner, we might offer our neighbors that peace that surpasses understanding—and discover again, that God’s peace even excels our own anxieties.

Prayer: Help me to fear, love, and trust you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1304.html Mon, 15 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when people censure you, and persecute you, and say everything evil against you dishonestly, because of me. 12 Rejoice and be elated, since your reward in heaven is great, for they similarly persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:5–12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 75

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

The temptation is to lash out, to retaliate, to pay back. But that is not Jesus’ way, though he was tempted. When he was criticized and even beaten, Jesus could have called down legions of angels to defend himself (Matt 26:53), but he did not retaliate. He did not even open his mouth in defense (Matt 26:63; Mark 14:61; 1 Ptr 2:23). Following in his example, we are to regard those who despise and insult us as our neighbors. We are to pray for such people (Matt 5:43–48), even aid them with food and water (Rom 12:20). In other words, we are to love them by showing them the same basic considerations we would desire. This is not an easy response, but it is the righteous one. It is the meek response of Jesus, and so it must be the same for his followers. There is great satisfaction and peace in knowing this is God’s will, that Christ will demonstrate his power in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9), and that there is reward in heaven for obedient children of the Father.

Prayer: Give me the courage to follow you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola’s Word of Life series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in small group gatherings, each of the six sessions in Dwell in My Love is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1303.html Tue, 09 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has a grudge with you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go. First, be reconciled with your brother, and then come to offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23–24) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

The greatest need our neighbors have, whether they know it or not, is emotional. We must not cause them any anguish, as it is ongoing, causing stress that mounts on stress, a daily trauma to be withstood. Soon enough, this emotional suffering becomes spiritual in nature. As such, it is a tension that cannot be truly overcome without reconciliation. Because we cannot love God without caring for our neighbor, we must fear, love, and trust God to the degree that we risk personal humiliation by pressing for peace with neighbor and self. Only then can there be concord with both neighbor and God.

Prayer: Give me the courage, Lord, to be at peace with everyone, so much as it depends upon me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Come, Holy Spirit! is a workbook-style Bible study about the work of the third Person of the Trinity being connected to the work of the Father and the Son. From the beginning, the Holy Spirit was actively involved in creation in giving life and breath. Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit revealed truth to people and empowered people to do God's will by speaking through the prophets. In the same way, the New Testament show that the Spirit is at work in the hearts of all believers as the source of our life in faith.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1302.html Mon, 08 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word4 Be angry but do not sin. Consider your own heart upon your bed, and be grieved. Selah 5 Offer righteous sacrifices and trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:4–5) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

So, are Christians not expected to get angry? Of course, Christians get angry; but they are not supposed to be angry. Followers of Christ do not carry their anger with them day after day, nor are they to act on their anger in a way that wounds another, especially those “of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). We should instead, “do good” (ibid.), but this presumes we have put our anger to bed. When we are angered, it is time to go somewhere quiet and meditate on our own hearts, so that we may remember that we too are sinners who annoy and even infuriate people, then turn our anger over to the Lord. We must fear, love, and trust God enough to offer him our rage before it consumes us. When we leave our anger on the pillow, we have sacrificed a private treasure and made a righteous offering.

Prayer: Lord, take my anger and replace it with your peace. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1301.html Fri, 05 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 21 You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, “You shall not kill,” and, “Whoever kills will be in danger of the judgment.” 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his neighbor will be subject to the judgment, and whoever calls his neighbor stupid will be accountable to the council, and whoever says, “You fool,” will be in danger of the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21–22)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

In case you think Luther takes his explanation of the Fifth Commandment too far, consider Jesus. The catechism explains not killing in terms of fighting and of being a caring friend to our neighbors. The gospel takes it further. You are not to murder, yes, but you are not to be angry with your neighbor or even resort to name-calling and insults. The one who does is subject to damnation.

Prayer: Guard my lips, O Lord, and my spirit. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1300.html Wed, 03 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, provide a drink. For in doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:20–21)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

The motivation for taking care of our neighbor, including our enemies, is the fear and love of God. We help others because we understand our own need of assistance. Even if we have enough food, water, clothing, and shelter, we still need God’s compassion, his mercy, and his forgiveness. We too have been an enemy to someone: to God. Our sin put us there, our unrighteousness pitted against his holiness. Yet God was compassionate and merciful toward us. He forgave us, and made a way to justify us by means of his own righteousness (Rom 3:25-26). He has befriended us (John 15:15) and helped us in our greatest need (Rom 5:8). Since God has loved us so greatly, we too should love one another (1 John 4:11) even as he loves everyone (John 3:16).

Prayer: Thank you for your friendship, Jesus. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

Most of the hymns and other resources in ReClaim are part of Sola's Online Worship Electronic Resource. Check out all that is in SOWER here

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1299.html Tue, 02 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click above for larger image.

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From the Word: 6 Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of oppression, to set the oppressed free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to distribute your bread to the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you do not ignore your own relative? (Isaiah 58:6–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

The faith is not about religious practice alone; it is not even just about God. Our devotion to God is most keenly observed, not in our worship and service, as much as God cherishes these acts, but in the love of our neighbor. The greatest commandment joins the love of God and the love of neighbor, as if into a single command (Matt 22:37–40). The two tablets, one about our relationship with God and the other about our relationships with our neighbors, is one Decalogue, one set of rules, one word. Any one commandment cannot be broken without breaking the others. In particular, one may not break any of the second tablet without breaking the first.

We are commanded to love our neighbor, to care for him as though our friend. We are to love him as if he were ourselves (Matt 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8), even though he be an enemy (Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35). This sounds difficult, perhaps impossible. Indeed, as far as it depends upon you, I am sure that both tablets are not possible. However, the silver lining to the commandments is that they do not depend upon you. What is impossible for you, is more than possible for God—even through you (Mark 10:27; 14:36; Luke 1:37; 18:27).

Prayer: Open my heart to my neighbor, Lord, so that you are glorified by both of us. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Still Believe is offered as a resource for reflecting on key themes in biblical, Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1298.html Mon, 01 Jul 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 18 But that which comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and it defiles the person. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:18–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 69

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

A mountain seems to stand steadfastly—until the plates far beneath the surface shift. Not murdering someone seems simpler to pull off than not saying something nasty. It seems far easier to make the decision to not strike someone with a fist than it is to hold back emotions. It would seem so. Here is the rub: all of these actions originate from the same source. It is not easy to not do any of these things once the heart has moved the thought, the word, the rage, the fist—or worse.

Instead of changing the act, we should change the source of the action. Guard the heart and you stand a better chance of holding back the anger (Prov 4:23; Phil 4:7). It is the heart that controls the lips and the fists. So, make your decision now, to guard your heart, and later, in the heat of the moment, the outward action will match the inner source, where there is already either peace or violence lying in wait.

Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Pastor Kent Groethe's study of the Book of Acts, Acts - Old Places, New Facesfocuses on the life of the early church as a model for church life today. The message and power of the church today needs to be revitalized and renewed by the power of God's Spirit, just as it was in the early church.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1297.html Fri, 28 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but allow an occasion for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

Leave it to God. It may sting your sense of honor if you do not avenge your dignity. But the honor belongs to the Lord anyway, and your own honor depends upon God (Psa 62:7). So, let it go. Move on; you have a life to live. In the other direction lie death and dishonor. God’s wrath will rule in the end. You may as well not be a part of it too.

Prayer: Give me patience, Lord, to love unlovable people. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Come, Lord Jesus answers the many questions that arise when modern readers look into the book of Revelation. In this book readers will come to understand the first-century context in which Revelation was written—and readers will join the holy choir in looking forward to the fulfillment of God's plan, offering our own invitation: "Come, Lord Jesus."

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1296.html Wed, 26 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And they saw [Joseph] at a distance, and before he drew near them, they conspired against him to kill him. (Genesis 37:18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

It is difficult to like some people. They may differ politically, religiously, culturally; they may be better off than you are and even flaunt it; they may be downright nasty. Nonetheless, God commands that we love our neighbor. So, though we may not actually like them, we may still love them. It remains a difficult thing to do but it is made some easier by knowing our love of them is tantamount to our love of God. The Fifth Commandment exhorts us to work for our neighbor’s good as though we were doing so for God (Col 3:23)—as indeed, we are.

There is some evidence that Joseph was one of those guys who was hard to like. He was different and better off and seemed to flaunt it before his brothers. So, when they were far away from Dad, they conspired together to get rid of him. The notion of killing their brother was proposed, but with lightly controlled anger, they sold him into slavery instead. They would have been judged had they murdered him. Yet, if they had merely continued to hate him, been angry with him, or just called him names (which they did: Gen 37:19), they would have been condemned to hellfire (Matt 5:21–24).

The only appropriate response was that they love their brother. God was and is firm on the matter. We too, are to love the unlikeables among us. To offer anything other than love to our neighbor is the very same as having no fear of or love for God.

Prayer: Love through me, Lord, in spite of me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

You Can Understand the Old Testament: Its Message and Its Meaning is an introduction to, and overview of, the Old Testament, exploring its meaning and its message for readers of today. Individual overviews and discussions of each book of the Old Testament are provided along with helpful maps, tables and charts as well as complete indexes of subject matter, biblical texts cited, and Hebrew words noted in the discussion. The book is aimed at students of the Bible, whether members of church congregations, pastors, or students in college or seminary. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1295.html Tue, 25 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 14 We know that we have crossed from death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love, continues in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no killer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love: that he laid down his life for us. So, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:13–16)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 66

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

Be careful that you do not imagine yourself exempt from bothering with the Fifth Commandment. You may say that you have never murdered anyone. Think again. Have you ever been angry with your neighbor? Bear in mind that your neighbor is the whole world. Have you ever harbored anger with a politician, a workmate, a church Council member, family, anyone? Jesus says that if you are angry with your neighbor, you are answerable to divine judgment (Matt 5:22). Do not let the day end without being reconciled so that you give the devil no opportunity over your soul (Eph 4:26). For anger will consume you with murderous rage. You would think the world better off with that hated person dead. To think so is as bad as the deed. However, “you shall not kill.”

Prayer: Give me the strength and the courage, Lord, to love my neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

It is a vital task of the church today to encourage a renewed interest in and use of God’s Word. Unfortunately, many people find the Scriptures difficult to read and hard to understand at first. The purpose of Epistles, a Guide to Reading the Scriptures is twofold: to encourage Christians to read God’s Word on a regular basis and to help the reader slow down and concentrate on each chapter of the epistles before moving on to the next.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1294.html Mon, 24 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Whoever spills a person’s blood, his blood shall be poured out by another, for God made humankind in his own image. (Genesis 9:6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

Human life is precious to the Lord. It does not matter whether that life is another’s life or one’s own, whether that life is nascent or full-formed. It is life; and it is life in God’s image. As such, God cherishes it, and it is to be treasured by all humankind. God is in relationship with human life, even that which is yet in the womb (Jer 1:5), for that is part of what it means to be created in God’s image. Being created in his image means that you are related to him.

God is relational, even in eternity. Before the creation, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit loved one another, else God could not be love (1 John 4:8). True love requires an object. Great love always loves more and more. So it is, that marriage seeks more than one another, and leads to children. The initial love of another is amplified in the love of others who bear their image. We bear the image of God, and are deeply loved by him. This is why he commands us to love not only God but neighbor as well. In loving our neighbor who bears God’s image, we love and honor God. We dare not murder our neighbor, for it is the same as striving to kill God. 

Prayer: Give me such grace, Lord, that I value all life. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Portraits of Jesus is a nine-session Bible study that explores the "I AM" statements given to us by Jesus himself. In comparing Jesus' words with related Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, the study provides a well-rounded look at the center of our faith in Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1293.html Fri, 21 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word5 …but he held no favor for Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your face downcast? 7 If you behave uprightly, will it not be lifted up? And if you do not do right, sin is lurking at the door, and it desires you. But you must rule over it. 8 Then Cain spoke with Abel, his brother. And when they were in a field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. —Genesis 4:5–8

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 64

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together

It is an instinct that goes all the way back to Cain: we imagine that we may solve our personal problems with violence, and if necessary, the final violence of death. We must rule over our nature and the dishonorable and unrighteous acts that seek to oblige the flesh. In the heat of a moment, murder is considered an easy way out. It is not at all easy on the victim, nor is it trouble-free for the conscience. But chiefly, God commands life because life and death are under divine authority.

Prayer: Empower me, Lord, by your Holy Spirit to hold my tongue and my hand from my neighbor unless it be to help and befriend. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Many in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) remember the loyalty, strength, and uniqueness of our Lutheran tradition and the necessity of "Christ Alone." Stand and Confess explores these traditions in light of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1292.html Wed, 19 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word

Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no power except from God, and those that exist are established by God. Therefore, the one who resists the authorities, opposes the ordinance of God, and those who dissent will receive condemnation. For rulers are not an object of dread to moral behavior, but to the evil. And would you have no fear of authority? Do good and you will have his esteem, for he is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for no reason. For he is a servant of God, an avenger who administers punishment on the one who performs evil. Therefore the requirement is to be submissive, not only because of the punishment, but also for conscience. 6 For this reason you also pay taxes, since they are ministers of God, devoted to this very duty. Give everyone their due: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:1–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

God has placed additional people in authority over us. We are to honor our parents above all others, second only to God, but the Scripture and the Catechism teach us to honor other authorities too. It may be a school teacher or principal, or later in life, an employer, a police officer, a government official—not to mention many other such examples of authority in our lives. It is of no advantage for us to disobey or make their lives difficult. God has established these forms of authority so that life will not devolve into anarchy. It is our responsibility to support and honor them, for in doing so we obey and honor God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all of your servants. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Hymns and Spiritual Songs from The North is a compilation of Nordic hymns. In the spirit of Martin Luther, such a hymn is usually a meditation or sermon on a Biblical text that grows out of the text for a Sunday. Sometimes it is long and slow, even mournful, giving singers the possibility of meditating on God's Word in their own context. Less often it is joyful, but it is always filled with longing and hope. We can imagine the grandma, during long dark winters, sitting by the fire, spinning or knitting as she sang stanza after stanza of an old favorite hymn or spiritual song, teaching her grandchildren to sing along with her. When they learned to lisp those words with her, they were learning how Scripture could be used to meet the deepest sorrows and the greatest joys of life.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1291.html Tue, 18 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was submissive to them. And his mother stored up all these matters in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and maturity, and in grace with God and man. (Luke 2:51–52)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

Of all people, Jesus might have insisted on being right when confronted with his parents’ demands upon him. Yet, he was obedient and submissive to them. Children sometimes demand that they are right, that their parents are not being fair, and belligerently rebel against their fathers and mothers. Society has even come to expect this to happen. This can, of course, turn into behavior later in life that worsens or even threatens the lives of others. The result is that maturity and wisdom seems lost on many adults. One begins their path when young, leading one direction or the other, to righteousness or pettiness, wisdom or foolishness, maturity or immaturity. Jesus honored his father and mother, and so, grew up to be wise and mature.

Prayer: Teach me, Holy Spirit, to be submissive to my parents. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola Publishing’s Alphabet Soup is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1290.html Mon, 17 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Rise up in the company of the gray-haired, and honor the presence of the elderly, and revere your God. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:32)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

They took a photograph of the men at church yesterday, in honor of Fathers’ Day. It was a collection of hoary-headed fellows. We show appropriate fear or reverence for the Lord when we honor these men and their female counterparts. God would have us honor the mere presence of the elderly. When I was a boy, my father taught me to stand when a woman walks into the room. Our heavenly Father teaches further: stand in the presence of the elderly—whether they are women or men.

Prayer: Lord, teach us to honor the elderly as our own parents. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola Publishing has added an online resource component to its education materials called SEED: the Sola Electronic Education Database. This new subscription-based resource provides teachers with tools to build a Sunday School program and lead classes for children, youth, and adults, with original resources printed in full color! The year's curriculm provides a full Bible overview — from Genesis to Revelation — with a collection of online media for each lesson, including new artwork, video presentations, updated teaching ideas, crafts, and more! 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1289.html Sun, 16 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Contents of The Athanasian Creed

Overview
Whole and Inviolable
"Trinity in Unity"
"Compulsion"
"Addressing Heresies"
"Equal and Subordinate"
"One Christ"
"Likewise"
"Standing on Your Own Feet"

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1287.html Fri, 07 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Hebrews 13:17

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

God has set others over you, besides your parents. They too, are in their positions for your benefit. Before we move on to civil authorities, let us consider a few others. Growing up, we are expected by our own parents to respect the adults in our neighborhood. They look out for us and keep watch over us, protecting us as we walk to school or play. At church, we are to respect and learn from our Sunday School teachers, Catechism instructors, pastors, and all of the adults there. We ought to allow them to raise us in the faith joyfully. Exasperating them brings us no advantage. This attitude should not change when we have ourselves become adults. There remain those in congregational leadership whom we should value so that they are able to watch over our sould with gladness.

Prayer: Lord, bless and prosper the work of those you have given leadership in your church. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Full-Color Catechism Posters (Set of Seven)  These glossy full-color 11"x 17" posters feature the main texts from the six parts of Luther's Small Catechism, and are designed for use in homes and churches to help children memorize these important and timeless words. Posters include: Holy Baptism, The Lord's Prayer, The Ten Commandments (standard), The Ten Commandments (simplified),The Apostles' Creed, Holy Communion, and Confession & Forgiveness. Each poster features a picture of "Luther's Small Cat" and matches the colors of the corresponding booklet from Sola's Luther's Small Cat Series.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1285.html Tue, 04 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Luke 18:20

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

Honoring parents is not the privilege of young children alone. Children who still live at home with their parents are of course, expected to love them, be obedient, and esteem them as blessed gifts of God. Adult children, even more, ought to have learned to honor their parents. They should not mock their mother or father, but instead, look to their needs, and care for them as they would have their own children care for them. We know these things, and are duty-bound both to our parents and to God to do them.

Prayer: Raise me up in your grace, O God, that I may keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

• Participant's Book    • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1284.html Mon, 03 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Philippians 2:14–15

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

God expects us to behave for our parents the way we would act in his presence. Therefore, we are to obey our parents as we would obey God: without complaining or asking why. Grumbling disobedience shows a lack of love. Moreover, it would be an indication that we are no different from the stubborn, rebellious, and wicked children around us. We are to esteem our parents more highly than this, and in doing so, we shine so brightly that we bring honor to God as well.

Prayer: Lord, work your salvation out of me in good works that bring glory to you and honor to my parents’ name. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1283.html Fri, 31 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Proverbs 23:20

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

Our parents are God’s agents to and for us. They are meant to be his blessed envoys, graciously given to us by God so that we may begin our education in the catechism. Through these emissaries, we learn to be obedient, to protect the lives of others, to be faithful, to respect the property of others, to tell the truth, and to be content with what has been provided. We begin to honor our parents when we regard them as God’s representatives to and for us. And by honoring our parents in this way, we begin to honor God as well.

Prayer: I give you thanks, Lord, for my parents. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Five VBS Class Posters & Five Sticker Sheets

These glossy full-color 11"x 17" posters with the title "Welcome to VBS!" are designed for use in recording attendance for Vacation Bible School.  Five posters are included in each set, along with five color sticker sheets.  Days are numbered 1-5, to correspond to the standard weekday VBS schedule.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1282.html Wed, 29 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Colossians 3:20

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

Even Jesus honored his parents with submissive behavior (Luke 2:51). This pleased his mother, and it pleases the Father when we follow the Lord’s example by being obedient to our parents. Parents are second to God alone as authorities and examples for their children. So, children are to submit to their fathers and mothers in all matters unless it goes against God’s word (Acts 5:29).

Prayer: Lord, help me trust in you through those you have placed in authority over me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus in this five-session VBS book, Moses and the Great Escape, is found in the Old Testament book of Exodus. God has a grand plan for humankind — a plan he enacts through the Hebrew people. He created Moses to be instrumental in this plan.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1281.html Tue, 28 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 4:15–16

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

They say that imitation is the sincerest or best form of flattery. That must be very true for parents. It is satisfying and rewarding when children reproduce their parents’ good character and conduct. Biological parents are not the only ones pleased when children imitate their examples. No doubt, Jesus was pleased when his disciples understood and duplicated his teaching and lifestyle. Paul too, wanted his spiritual children—his disciples—to imitate him. We honor our biological and spiritual parents when we pay attention to them and duplicate their way of life.  

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to listen to those whom you have given me as teachers and guides. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Brave Queen Esther focuses on the story of a young Jewish girl named Esther, who was raised by her older cousin Mordecai after the death of her parents. Set in a time when people of faith were suspect in the eyes of the surrounding culture, the story illustrates the values of integrity and honesty.  It shows how being faithful to God, caring for one another, and standing up for what we believe, can help us through times of fear and doubt.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1279.html Tue, 21 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Leviticus 19:3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

God’s promise to be a Father to us demonstrates the importance he places on the role of parenting. It is the first commandment on the second tablet—those that focus on our neighbors. It contains a promise, where the other commandments do not. Clearly, this is a very important commandment. As God expects us to honor him as our heavenly Father, he expects and demands that we honor our earthly fathers and mothers too. They are his representatives to us, that we may be brought up well, trained in an orderly and lawful way, honoring and respecting, not only God and parents, but all those in authority.

Prayer: Give me, O Lord, the spirit of obedience, for you are my God. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

David: Hero of God is a five-session VBS program that features one of the most famous people in Scripture. The Books of 1 and 2 Samuel tell the story of a young Israelite shepherd named David, who was chosen by God to be king. The biblical story shows how God can work through an ordinary person to do great things, illustrating the themes of faith, courage, compassion, and leadership. 

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1277.html Mon, 20 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Ephesians 6:1–3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

Seems right; if I did not respect my dad, he might have killed me! When he got out that paddle, I had cause to wonder. However, this is hardly what the Fourth Commandment means.

It is curious, even begging our attention, that this is the first commandment that contains a promise. Indeed, it is the only commandment that contains a promise. In order to more fully appreciate that promise, we should look back to the promise that prefaces all of the commandments. It is very precious, and will help us appreciate the value of the Fourth Commandment.

In Exodus, in the verse before the First Commandment, God promises: I am the Lord your God (Exod 20:2). In the statement of fact is the promise as well. What a promise! God promises to be your God. God is God, no matter what. And God is our God, no matter what—you may believe his promise. Bondage, sin, adversity, war, and even death cannot and will not alter the promise. He is our God. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for being, not just God but, my God. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus in this five session VBS series, Rebekah & Her Family, comes from the Book of Genesis. God's hand is seen at work throughout the story — from Rebekah’s being chosen as a bride for Isaac, through the birth and lives of their twin sons, Esau and Jacob.  The story illustrates how God remains faithful to his promise, despite our sin, and that God's power can actually change our lives!

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1276.html Fri, 17 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Kings 2:10

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

We are to honor our parents. One of the ways this is done is by respecting, obeying, serving, and otherwise loving them throughout our shared days. When those days are over, when our parents have died, the honor God commands is not concluded. We must honor our parents even in death. This was especially so in ancient societies when family did not hand over the duties required in preparing and burying the body, then later, gathering the bones of the deceased to “sleep” with their ancestors. Today, we pay someone to prepare and bury the dead, and because land is plentiful, we typically inter in a family lot. Nonetheless, being certain that this is done with dignity and in a manner that glorifies God is another way we ought to honor our fathers and mothers.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to honor my parents, as well as all the elderly in my congregation, as I would want to be treated. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus of Mary, Martha & Many Faithful Women, a five-session VBS book is found in the gospels. Through the eyes of sisters, Mary and Martha, we get a look at the ministry of Jesus. We see him as both human and as God. Along with some of Jesus' other female friends, we follow Jesus to the cross where he suffered a horrendous death to pay the price for our sins. From the darkness of the cross, we join the women at the tomb with Mary Magdalene as the mystery and victory of Easter morning unfold.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1275.html Thu, 16 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 22:37–40

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

The commandment to love our neighbor begins at home. We are to love others as we love ourselves—not just loving those closest to us. Still, we cannot truly love our neighbor unless we love our own family. This, of course, begins with our parents. God has not given us parents only for the purposes of them feeding, clothing, sheltering, and protecting us. For these alone, we ought to respect and love them. Yet God does not command us to obey our parents (Col 3:20) because of the things they provide. We are to obey them as though they are his own representatives to us—as though it were God himself telling us to clean our rooms, take out the trash, do our homework, and so forth. It is God’s will and command that we do so.

Prayer: Help me to respect all those you have placed in authority over me, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus of The Adventures of Paul, a five-session VBS book, is the life of the Apostle Paul, using lessons from the Book of Acts. Here Scripture tells the story of serious man named Saul who worked to silence Christianity—until the risen Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed his life. With his new name Paul, this one who had persecuted the Church went on to become one of the greatest apostles. 

The price of the book includes permission to reproduce the worksheets and handouts for local use. For smaller churches in a "one-room schoolhouse" setting, only one book is necessary. For churches with multiple grade levels and individual classes, we suggest that each teacher have a copy of the curriculum book.

More from the Versatile Budget Series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1274.html Wed, 15 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Timothy 5:8

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

The penultimate way one honors parents is to care for them in their old age, when they cannot take care of themselves anymore. This was expected in ancient societies, and in many modern societies too. It may be today, that this kind of specialized care is delegated to nursing homes. That is attention to the physical, but aging parents also need mental and spiritual care. Again, pastors and social workers may do a good deal of this care. Still, God expects children to care for their parents, for no one can provide the kind of care that parents desire more than their children are able—if they will do so. This commandment was so important that one’s own life—let alone the lives of one’s parents—depended upon it (Exod 21:17; Prov 20:20). May it also be of great magnitude for us today.

Prayer: Help me honor you with my actions, Lord, not just my lips. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for Lutherans. It is filled with meaty articles, as well as lighter spiritual fare and inspiring graphics. Articles are contributed by individuals and ministries of AALC, CALC, LCMC, NALC, Lutheran Core, and other evangelical Lutherans from across North America. Click here for subscription information.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1273.html Tue, 14 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 6:3–5

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

The Sabbath of the old covenant observed God’s completion of creation. The Sabbath of the new covenant celebrates recreation—that people are recreated, or born again, through faith in Christ. This new life is the beginning of our inheritance of the imperishable life (1 Pet 1:3–4). We worship him who has provided us with a living hope of resurrection from the dead. The Holy Spirit stirs up this hope in us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This is what we celebrate on the Lord’s Day, the day Christ Jesus rose from the dead. And that is why we observe the first day instead of the last day. We are celebrating a new beginning, eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

Prayer: Help me remember your resurrection every day, Lord, and have an ever-living hope in you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Wise & The Foolish is a Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—or what might better be described as discipleship parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus.

This nine-session Bible study is intended for use by women's and men's groups, or for other small group fellowships gathering around the Word of God.

Click HERE to see the table of contents and a sample session of this study.

To view the Leader Guide click HERE.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1272.html Sun, 12 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

2 Timothy 3:16–17

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

What do you depend upon for religious education, for correction or downright reprimand, and for training in virtue? What is it that governs your maturity in the Christian faith? Your opinions? TV shows? Newspapers? Social media? Hopefully, these are not what you depend upon.

If you want an inspired and solid upbringing in the faith, you must depend upon two things: the Word of God and the communion of saints. You cannot correct yourself to the extent necessary, nor can you alone be relied upon to discover all the Word has to offer you, let alone be accountable to yourself. You need the “mutual conversation and consolation” (Martin Luther, The Smalcald Articles) of those who walk with you in the path of Christ. That is where Christ is (Matt 18:20), and where God has always dwelled (Ezek 37:27; 2 Cor 6:16), breathing out upon us grace and truth.

Prayer: Lord, speak to me through you Word, on paper and spoken by others. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Introduce young students to the Church through this five-week series titled Welcome to Church. Click here for the Table of Contents and a sample session.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1271.html Thu, 09 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Timothy 4:13

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

The reading of Scripture to the congregation is vital. Indeed, the use of Scripture throughout the liturgy is central to our worship. But why is this the case?

We believe what we teach in the Catechism. Evidence of our fear and love of God is seen in how we cherish his Word—not just preaching from certain verses, but reading the pure Word itself—and large portions. Hearing it read ought to be a joy for believers, and reading it well, a precious privilege. Those who read aloud and those who hear the book read are truly blessed (eg: Rev 1:3). For in this book, the one, true God is revealed, and his people sanctified. Therefore, we ought to read the Scriptures often, and hear it read regularly. It shows who we are—and reminds us whose we are.

Prayer: Bring me to a love of your Word, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Wise & The Foolish is a nine-session Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—what might be described as Discipleship Parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1270.html Wed, 08 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 10:14–17

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

Faith comes through the proclaimed word of Christ Jesus, the message of the gospel. It is the good news because salvation comes by no other name (John 14:6). Jesus Christ is the way to the Father (Eph 2:18). We should remember the one day above all others each week when this good news may be heard, and pray that by our holy example, others will come and hear the gospel proclaimed by a preacher, hear it, believe, and be saved. In this example, we see that the day is observed, not only for ourselves, but for others.

Prayer: Order my priorities, Holy Spirit. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

One For All is a nine-session Bible study explores the center of the Christian faith by focusing on the unique and exclusive promise of Jesus. It examines not only the claims that Christ made about himself in Scripture, but the claim that the Lord makes on our lives as well. By focusing on the Gospel message of salvation in Christ alone, the study seeks to show how God makes us a part of His mission to the whole world, and how "the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all."

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1269.html Tue, 07 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 1:21

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

“God’s Word is the treasure that makes everything holy. Through it, all the saints have been made holy. God’s Word, at whatever time it is taught, preached, heard, read, or pondered, hallows there and then the person, the day, the work—not because of the external act but on account of the Word that makes us all saints” (The Large Catechism, The Third Commandment, Martin Luther).

It is the Word of God received in faith that makes one holy. The preaching of that Word is vital, whether it is a lector reading the Word aloud, a pastor proclaiming it from a pulpit, or the Holy Spirit speaking through a printed Bible or app. To be sure, the Spirit must be involved in the preaching. Inasmuch, we see that there are two things central to gospel preaching: God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Saving faith will not happen without both. You may read the Bible under the power of your own reason all day and gain nothing without the Spirit. You may listen to preaching Sunday after Sunday, and hear nothing salvific without the work of the Holy Spirit.

This is why we are to honor the Word and its preaching: through that holy Word of God, God make’s holy those who believe—whether on Saturday or Sunday or any other day of the week.  

Prayer: Speak, Lord, for I am listening in your Word. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is an advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Part 1  • Pt 1 Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Pt 2 Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1268.html Mon, 06 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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John 17:17

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

When we gather around the Word of God, we are separated from the world for a while. For the moment, we are devoted only to God. This is one major way that we keep the Third Commandment. We observe it by taking the time to study God’s Word through reading, hearing, and preaching. God sanctifies us by his Word spoken over and through us. Though we may not imagine how, or even feel the effects, God makes us holy through his Word. We keep the Lord’s Day holy so that he may consecrate his Church through the Word.

Prayer: Teach me, Lord, from your Word. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Get a box of 100 customized with your church name, address, and website. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1267.html Fri, 03 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 18:10–11, 18–20

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

But the Sabbath is a Saturday, not a Sunday, you may argue. Yes, the Jewish Sabbath was Saturday; actually, it was Friday evening until Saturday evening. This is an important consideration for those keeping the outward commands—or keeping the commands outwardly. Christians should be intent on keeping the inward commands, so that even the outward commandments are observed in an inward manner. Therefore, law keeping can no longer be about legalistic duties, those things one must do in order to be right with God. Because Christ Jesus has justified those who believe, we keep the commandments for different reasons now. The important matter here is resting, not counting.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for fulfilling the law for me when I could not. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

   

Today, the reliability of the Gospel is questioned or denied by many voices, inside and outside the Church. But if we, as Christians, have only "hoped" in Christ, and do not see Him as reliable, then we are "most to be pitied." This series by As We Go Ministries examines the reliability of central claims of the Christian faith, including the truth of Scripture, the promise of the Gospel, and the certainty of Christ's death and resurrection for our sake. 

The series requires the accompanying video DVD featuring the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church, in Hutchinson, Minnesota: the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan. 

Click the thumbnails for product descriptions and ordering details. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1265.html Thu, 02 May 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Genesis 2:1–3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise his Word and the preaching of it, but acknowledge it as holy, and gladly hear and learn it.

Pulling It Together

The Sabbath is a day of rest, a miniature holiday or holyday. This day of rest is to be kept because God not only commanded it, he observed it. This is not a moral commandment like lying and hatred, which concern the inward life, but a commandment concerning the outward life. Yet, the principal of the holyday, or holiday, still applies. It should not be observed in the sense of what one cannot do, as the Pharisees tried to do with Jesus and his disciples (Matt 12:1–8). Rather, we should focus on what we should do, how we ought to keep the day as holy. Therefore, Christians still keep a day of rest so they have space in a week to assemble for worship, study, prayer, and fellowship.  

Prayer: Lord, increase in me a love for the study and preaching of your Word. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes hundreds of hymns and songs for use in worship, organized by season and theme, available in full score, lead sheets, image files, and text only. These include popular hymns and songs, as well as new hymns from the lectionary texts and set to familiar tunes. 

SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, graphics, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1263.html Tue, 30 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 1:2–3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

Let us be clear. God will not hold guiltless the one who takes his name in vain. Yet, the one who calls upon his name in sorrow over that sin will be forgiven. For example, I am scheduled to be somewhere Wednesday afternoon but someone who does not believe I will actually show up, asked me, “Are you really going to be there?” What if I had replied, “I swear to God!” Would my response be a sin? Absolutely; I would have broken the Second Commandment. Will God consider me guilty? Yes. Will he forgive me, if I confess my sin? Yes; God forgives repentant sinners. Will he forgive me if I say, “I didn’t sin.” He will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain.

Even more, God will not hold guilty those who call upon his name. For those who respond to the gospel with confidence in God’s mercy through Christ will indeed be forgiven. As it is said, there is more mercy in God than there is sin in us.

Prayer: Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola has added a Bible Overview year to its Confirmation Series, with two ten-session booklets — one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament. These books provide a step-by-step overview of the history and geography of the Scriptures, exploring the various time periods and sections of the Bible and how they connect to one another. The goal is to give students a sense for the over-arching story of Scripture, fulfilled in the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1262.html Mon, 29 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Psalm 139:19–24

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

It is easy to notice the faults of others. For example, you will hear God’s name used wrongly—whether as an outright expletive or by swearing by it to gain another’s trust. But the heart of a believer will hear when he has vainly taken his Lord’s name. Once the Spirit of God has attuned the ear of a believer, he is grieved when he takes the name of the Lord in vain. He loathes himself for his sin. At this point, all he can hear are his own evil words; the voice of his neighbor now seems mute. So, we must pray God finds us out as we have noticed the wrong in others. This is one way we hallow God’s name (Matt 6:9), by asking that he search our hearts, and correct our words and actions. This begins with confession, asking God to forgive us, and then asking him to help our neighbors too.

Prayer: Find the evil in me, Lord, and lead me in your ways. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

"SOWeR is the first place I go every week to start thinking about my sermon." —Pastor William Maki, Zion Lutheran Church, St. Marys, OH

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1260.html Mon, 22 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Acts 17:29–30

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

“God told me.” When people say this, they are taking the Lord’s name in vain. They say, “God told me to do this,” so that no one will be able to disagree with them. How could someone disagree when God said they should do whatever it is that they want to do! They may have a strong feeling that they ought to do something, but it remains just that: feeling—a mood resulting from a specific life situation. It does not mean God is telling them to do that something. God is not mood; he is not setting in life. Nor does he speak through mood or setting. God speaks to us through his Word. Applying a “thus saith the Lord” to our feelings is to give them a biblical authority. Saying “God told me” is taking the name of the Lord your God in vain. The Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain.

Prayer: Help me, Lord God, to honor and respect your holy name. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus in this five session VBS series, Rebekah & Her Family, comes from the Book of Genesis. God's hand is seen at work throughout the story — from Rebekah’s being chosen as a bride for Isaac, through the birth and lives of their twin sons, Esau and Jacob.  The story illustrates how God remains faithful to his promise, despite our sin, and that God's power can actually change our lives!

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1259.html Fri, 19 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with your whole mind—and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

So, we see that taking the Lord’s name vainly does not only break the Second Commandment; it also breaks the First Commandment. For taking the Lord’s name in vain demonstrates a lack of fear, love, and trust in God above all things. One who fears someone would never sully his reputation. Despising the one who is loved never enters the thoughts of the lover. Disgracing the one who is trusted would be self-defeating, likely depriving you of your need. Therefore, if we truly believe in God, we fear, love, and trust him with our entire being. In really doing so, we will not use his name vainly, for there is no need to do so.

Prayer: Help me to live what I believe, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confimation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1258.html Thu, 18 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 6:31–33

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 36

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

Why does one need to lie or otherwise deceive in order to receive some necessary thing? God knows what you need, so ask your heavenly Father, and he will provide the needs of the day. The practice of deceit happens when one desires more than is necessary, or when there is lack of trust for what is needed. I do not recall sneaking food from the refrigerator or pantry when I was a boy. Mom and Dad made sure I had enough and more to eat. I trusted that they would provide for my needs every day. Even more, Jesus has promised that his Father will meet your needs. Trust—and give thanks.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for providing everything needed for my life. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, Parents' Video/Discussion Series on Faith Formation, Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1257.html Wed, 17 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 12:14

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

The Second Commandment deals with far more than using a specific word or words. If you are a Christian, then all you say and do is said and done in the name of God. You take (or bear) the name of the Lord everywhere you go, and in everything you do. Therefore, you should be careful that your words are gracious and seasoned with salt (Col 4:6) in a way that commends the message of the gospel. Your speech should be kind, not enraged, forgiving, not wrathful, complimentary, not slanderous, pure, not obscene (Col 3:8). Because you carry the name of the Lord everywhere, you should not do so in vain. Your words should be his blessing to all you encounter.

Prayer: Lord, keep watch over my mouth. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1256.html Tue, 16 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 5:33–37

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

Too much talk can lead to grand statements, to bragging backed up with oaths. Be content with silence, for the whisper of God may be heard there (1 Kings 19:11–13). It is better and safer to let God speak for you than to fill up the silence with empty words. When one swears an oath, it should never be done in casual conversation. Oaths are matters for courtrooms. A pledge should be either a simple but emphatic “yes” or “no.” Any more words than those are unnecessary and originate in evil—as long-windedness leads to the sin of swearing.

Prayer: Help me listen, Lord, more than I speak. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Be the unique "you" Jesus is calling you to be. Seek, discover, and incorporate the Lord's call into all of life...family, work, neighborhood, world, and the gathering of believers. Discover how the Lord equips with His Spirit and power so that you can be the "church" in action. Custom Designed – Reflection Guide is a practical and interactive spiritual journal integrating Scripture, teaching, personal reflection exercises, conversation, and prayer. This guide accompanies the book.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1254.html Mon, 15 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 6:9

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

The best way to use God’s name properly is in prayer, and the best prayer is the one Jesus taught us. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that the Father’s name will be hallowed, or “holied.” We ask that his name be made holy: that he be revered, set apart, and honored in our lives and throughout the world. We do so hallow his name each time we call upon him in prayer, worshiping him with praise and thanksgiving.

Prayer: Father God, holy is your name. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

  

Sola added a Bible Overview year to its Confirmation Series, with two ten-session booklets — one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament. These books provide a step-by-step overview of the history and geography of the Scriptures, exploring the various time periods and sections of the Bible and how they connect to one another. The goal is to give students a sense for the over-arching story of Scripture, fulfilled in the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

• OT Leader's Guide
• NT Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1253.html Fri, 12 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 6:31–33

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 32

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

We are to use God’s name properly. Because we trust God, we may believe that he will take care of us. Therefore, we do not need to resort to deceitful practices of any sort in order to have our needs met by the Father. If we pursue God first—if we follow him (Matt 16:24)—instead of running after our necessities, we may confidently trust that God will take care of the rest. So, we do not need to abuse God’s character in irrational ways, such as insisting our services for him garner merit and therefore rewards. Rather, we are to take up our crosses—we are to hand over our lives to God—and follow him, trusting in his goodness and love.

Prayer: Help me seek you, O God, and trust you with the rest of my life. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Listening Bible: Letters from Jesus in the Written Word, by Glen S.R. Carlson, helps you take time to LISTEN to what Jesus is saying to you from Romans to Jude (softcover; 692 pages). 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1252.html Thu, 11 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

There are things that people fear, love, and trust above God. People may fear illness, suffering, and death above God. The result can be slavish devotion to fitness or to doctors and medicine. People may love money more than God, devoting their lives to work and promotions, even working on the Sabbath. Rather than trusting in God’s grace, people may place their confidence in their good deeds and religious works. Ironically, this is making oneself an idol, a false deity brought before the Lord in every time of prayer and worship—indeed, in every moment of life. To truly fear, love, and trust in God above all things may require a massive makeover of one’s life.

Prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola has certificates for all your services (Baptism, Baptismal Sponsor, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, and Membership). Sola Certificates are printed in color on heavyweight parchment paper, with a matching envelope to go with each certificate. The traditional 'half-sheet' size is perfect for inclusion in a picture album or scrapbook.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1251.html Wed, 10 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:1–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

Keeping the Ten Commandments is not something that we must do in order to be saved. God does not forgive us because we keep the rules. The law cannot save; salvation has always come by God’s grace instead of human works. Forgiveness and eternal life come through faith in God’s loving grace. The fruit of this faith is love: a love that comes from God (1 John 4:7). The result of faith is love for God and love for neighbor. Through faith—fearing, loving, and trusting in God above all things—we begin to actually fulfill the law’s demands. We keep the law, however imperfectly. But we actually want to do so and are grieved when we do not. Still, the fulfillment of the law comes in loving God and neighbor (Rom 13:8–10). The commandments aim us at love, for without the love of God and neighbor, we are nothing (1 Cor 13:2). So, we see that loving God and neighborkeeping the Ten Commandments—is not the way of salvation, but instead, the way of those who have been saved through faith in God.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to fulfill the law by loving you, and loving my neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Rejoice in the Lord, Always! is a nine week study that examines some of the most treasured verses in Scripture, in ways that are encouraging and realistic about our life in faith. Celebrating both the tensions and the joys of discipleship, Paul reminds us of Who it is that makes us a community as we share our lives together in a common commitment to Christ.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1250.html Tue, 09 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 29

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

While the effects of sin may linger a while, the steadfast love of God endures forever (Psa 136:1-26). That is the idea in the idiom: “a thousand generations.” It is like saying, “a million years.” Who would count that high? It would take forever. God loves with a steadfast, forever love those who love him and keep his commandments. This is another way of stating the first commandment.

We are to believe in God alone, and not have any other gods. We are to believe in the name—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and have the names of no other gods upon our lips (Psa 16:4). The great and first commandment condenses it all to: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37–40).

The Apostle John makes the great commandment quite clear. “This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1 John 3:23). Keeping the commandments boils down to loving God’s Son—loving God himself—and one another, just as Jesus commanded. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

The love of God remains forever upon those who so love.

Prayer: Help me love my neighbor, Lord, as I love you and as you have loved me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Custom Designed presents guided questions, ancient wisdom, and insightful diagrams for understanding your unique individuality, recognizing God’s guiding hand, and even grappling with two of life’s more practical yet significant questions: “Who am I?” and “What am I to do?”

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1249.html Mon, 08 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The Scripture teaches us that children are not guilty of the sins of their parents (Ezek 18:20). Nevertheless, they often suffer the consequences. The bad choices we make affect others. Many of the sins that parents commit impact their children the most. Abusive sins like adultery or rage can linger for generations, visiting even grandchildren. We should take the commandments very seriously, making good and godly choices, if only for the sake of our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren.

Prayer: Give me the courage and strength to obey you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. Only $3!

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1248.html Fri, 05 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 27

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The effects of sin linger. I look at my own parents’ sins every day, as so many are alive in me. I learned those sins from them but they are my sins. Thankfully, God’s law makes me aware of them, convicting me of my guilt. It is not my parents who are guilty of my sin; I am guilty. Though I feel this guilt with a sense of pain and defeat, it is nonetheless, a good thing that the law does in me. It makes me aware of my sin, reminds me of God’s jealousy over me—that he, not death and the devil, would have me—and makes me desire his grace. And so, the accusing finger of the law ends up pointing me to Christ, a wellspring of grace without limits.

Prayer: Thank you, O Lord, for your mercy and grace. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Wise & The Foolish is a nine-session Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—what might be described as Discipleship Parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1247.html Thu, 04 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The Hebrew word typically translated as “jealous” in Exodus 20:5 can mean zealous, passionate, even outraged—or simply protective. Luther translated it as “zealous” (eifriger) but the major English translations all read “jealous.” The point of the text is that God is powerfully protective of his relationship with his people. He is zealously jealous, as one should be of a spouse. Throughout Scripture, God is depicted as bridegroom and the Israel of God as his spouse (Isa 54:5; Rev 19:7). So of course, God is a jealous God. This is a holy and righteous quality in one who steadfastly loves his spouse.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving me so fiercely. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Luther's Small Cat Discovers: Martin Luther and the Reformation. This five-week booklet in the Luther's Small Cat children’s series introduces Martin Luther and the era of the Reformation, and is written for upper elementary students. Designed to complement the original Luther's Small Cat series on the meaning of the catechism, this series looks at life in the Church and the unique heritage of the Lutheran faith tradition.

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1246.html Wed, 03 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Exodus 20:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The idea of serving idols (“or serve them”) in verse five is specific to bringing them the service of worship. The NIV translates it so: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them.” Those translations in the lineage of the KJV keep with the word “serve.” It means the same. We are not to serve idols with our worship. Doing so seeks to deify chunks of wood or stone. Idols are inanimate objects. Though they may symbolize some other god, they are representations of empty, human inventions, devoid of life. There is one God, and we are to fear, love, and trust in him above all things—including idols.

Prayer: I worship you alone, Lord God. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Come, Worship the Lord (Sola Music Series, Vol I) The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use. This book includes music from "The Holy Cross Setting" available with a SOWeR subscription.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1245.html Tue, 02 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Exodus 20:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

Imagine that those who are made in the image of the Almighty God (Gen 1:26) would bow down to figurines of human invention. Ludicrous! That would be the image of the greater bending to the image of the lesser. It is twisted: a perversion. Worshiping your own invention or that of another is to venerate something less than yourself, less than human. We to fear, love, and trust in God above all things; yet how could we do any less than to fear, love, and trust in the product of human invention?

Prayer: Lord God, I would look to you alone for all good things. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1244.html Mon, 01 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:4

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

If you knew what God looked like (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12) and made an image of that likeness, would you be able to fear the image? I suppose you could, but it would be irrational to do so. For example, imagine you had been bullied by some kid in elementary school, and forty years later, you saw a photograph of that kid on Facebook. Would you be afraid of the digital photo? While it may bring old feelings to memory, you would not actually fear the photo.

Could you love a statue of God, even if you did know what he looked like? Would you be able to place your total trust in a carving or painting of God? Is worship of representation of God acceptable practice? Of course not; no one goes in to a church and worships a stained glass window of the Good Shepherd or of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane.

We are to fear, love and trust the Lord alone. This is faithful worship.

Prayer: Though I have not seen you, Lord, I believe with fear, love, and trust in you alone. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1243.html Fri, 29 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The command to have no other gods is packed with things to consider. Having another god means to own the god, as one could an idol. But we cannot own Yahweh, in that sense, unless we try to make him into an image that we would worship instead of Yahweh himself. Having a god also means the god belongs to you; you possess the god. Instead, we belong to the Lord.

These other gods are not to be kept before the Lord. Literally, they are not to be in his presence. Where could we possibly fly from the presence of God? (Psa 139:7). We cannot keep other gods to a private side of our lives and imagine we have not placed them before— in the presence of—the Lord. The other way to think of “before,” is that we have made other gods more important to us than the Lord; they rank higher; they are above the Lord. This is one reason Luther explains the commandment as he does. “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

Still, the best way to think of the commandment is the way we naturally do, and the way Luther’s Catechism states it in a simple way for children—that we simply have no other gods. Besides the Lord, we must have no other gods. He alone is God. How could we have others?

Prayer: Lord, remove the foreign gods from my life. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1242.html Thu, 28 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:2

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

You may initially counter that God did not bring you out of Egypt. It was the Hebrew people whom God led out of slavery to pharaohs. They were enslaved for over four centuries in Egypt, waiting for God to send Moses to lead them out. But God—your God—has led you out of slavery too. Since Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience in the garden (Gen 3:1–6), the human race has been enslaved to sin. We are born in bondage to sin (Psa 51:5), cannot escape on our own, and will die in sin without someone to lead us out (Rom 5:12–21).

Because of the sin of that one man, Adam, generations remained dead in sin, and in bondage to it. But thanks be to God! Through the one man, Christ Jesus, the free gift of God’s grace overflows in our justification to God. We were once enslaved to a worse taskmaster than any pharaoh. But Christ has led us out of bondage, setting us free from sin, death, and the devil. So, we must no longer fear death or the devil. Instead, we should fear, love, and trust God above all things.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free from sin. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Small Cat Intro Kit includes a copy of one Student Book and one Teacher's Guide from each level in the  basic Luther's Small Cat Series. It also includes a sample Luther's Small Catechism Children's Version, a Booklet of Memory Verses and a Catechism Poster Set, all for the special package price of $85.00. The kit serves as a great way to do an advance review of the entire series, or as a teachers' sample for leaders of all grade levels.

The Kit includes: 6 Lesson Books and corresponding Teacher's Books with 5 sessions each, 1 Luther's Small Catechism Children's Version, 1 Memory Verse Booklet, and 7 Posters.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1240.html Wed, 27 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Exodus 20:2

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 20

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

Note: Exodus 20:2 does not simply say, “I am the Lord God.” It reads, “I am the Lord your God.” Without God revealing himself to the people of Israel, he may have been any deity, any one of the gods of the land. So, he declares, I am Yahweh—your God. This is the same Lord who would one day give himself for the world in an it-is-finished” atonement (Heb 10:1–18). The very same Lord your God is the Lord given for you. This covenant God has every right to expect his people to hear and obey. The commandments speak to his authority over us; the relationship speaks to his right to do so. His expectations of us are greatly outweighed by his blessings to us and his giving of himself for us.

Prayer: My Lord and my God, give me the courage to follow you and in doing so, keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series is a basic workbook style Confirmation curriculum, designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. Click HERE to download a pdf sheet describing the program, including an outline of session topics.

The Lord's Prayer workbook is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on the Introduction, one for each of the Petitions, and a one-session Conclusion. The Scripture focus in the Lord's Prayer series is on the Parables of Jesus, with Bible Study lessons taken from the Gospels.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1241.html Wed, 27 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Exodus 20:2

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 20

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

Note: Exodus 20:2 does not simply say, “I am the Lord God.” It reads, “I am the Lord your God.” Without God revealing himself to the people of Israel, he may have been any deity, any one of the gods of the land. So, he declares, I am Yahweh—your God. This is the same Lord who would one day give himself for the world in an it-is-finished” atonement (Heb 10:1–18). The very same Lord your God is the Lord given for you. This covenant God has every right to expect his people to hear and obey. The commandments speak to his authority over us; the relationship speaks to his right to do so. His expectations of us are greatly outweighed by his blessings to us and his giving of himself for us.

Prayer: My Lord and my God, give me the courage to follow you and in doing so, keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series is a basic workbook style Confirmation curriculum, designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. Click HERE to download a pdf sheet describing the program, including an outline of session topics.

The Lord's Prayer workbook is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on the Introduction, one for each of the Petitions, and a one-session Conclusion. The Scripture focus in the Lord's Prayer series is on the Parables of Jesus, with Bible Study lessons taken from the Gospels.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1239.html Tue, 26 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

Click above for larger graphic.  • Original image  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Exodus 20:2

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The commandments bring God to the forefront of our hearts and minds; the actual commandments seem almost secondary. They are commanded because of the nature of God. So, his nature must be considered first. The one who commands is the God who commanded Moses to go and speak to the people of Israel. Moses wondered the name he should tell Israel when they asked whom it was who had sent him. God replied, “I am who I am.” Tell them, “I am” sent you (Exod 3:13–14). The commandments begin with this reminder of who it is that commands us. I am commands. The name of God, which we often see as Yahweh or Jehovah, is always replaced with Lord, out of reverence for the name of God and the Second Commandment. This is who commands us, not the so-called gods of the land. The one who has called us into relationship, revealing his personal name, is the one who now commands us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for showing me who you are. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Sacraments is a ten-week study, including sessions on Baptism, Communion, and the Office of the Keys. The Bible Study lessons in The Sacraments series emphasize the connection between Old and New Testaments, by drawing on sacramental themes foreshadowed in familiar Old Testament stories, and how the promises of God "for you" are expressed and fulfilled in Christ.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1238.html Mon, 25 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Exodus 20:1–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Ten Commandments presented as the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Pulling It Together

The commandments begin with a brief foreword that is the condition for the words to follow. Why should we do and not do these certain things? What is the condition for our obedience? God said so. Frankly, we need no more reason than this one precedent: God is the one who makes the command. This is not dissimilar to what we heard from our parents, or what we may have said to our own children. When children begin to learn disobedience, they challenge authority, demanding, Why do I have to do that? The ready answer is, “Because I said so,” sometimes adding, “that’s why.” The Lord our God provides this information at the start. We do and do not do because God spoke all these words to us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for speaking these ten words that I may live as you will have me live. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Apostles' Creed book is a ten-week unit, with one session on the Trinity and three sessions on each article of the Creed. The Bible Study lessons in the Creed series provide an overview of creation-redemption themes in Scripture, driving toward the promise of God at work in our present lives. Click here to see the introductory pages and a sample of session one.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1237.html Sat, 23 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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2 Corinthians 3:4–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

So, pastors and preachers, it is up to you. Our office has become a different thing from what it was under the pope; it is now significant and salutary. Accordingly, it now involves much more trouble and labor, danger and trials—and what is more, little reward and gratitude from the world. But Christ himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully. To this end, may the Father of all grace help us, to whom be praise and thanks forever, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Pulling It Together

Gratitude from the world? Too often, it seems like there is not much gratitude even from the church. That is a reason why a minister’s sufficiency must come from God. If a minister must rely upon self-sufficiency, burnout will ensue. So, we must press on, keeping the focus on the prize at the finish (Phil 3:14). We might then look back with clearer eyes and heart, and see that the Spirit of God had been at work in our ministries all along.

Prayer: Keep me focused on you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1236.html Fri, 22 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 26:26–28

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Therefore, you must not make any law on this matter, as the pope does. Instead, clearly present the benefit and detriment, the need and abuse, and the blessing and the danger in this Sacrament. Then the people will come voluntarily, without your coercion. Yet, if they do not come, let them go. Tell them that people who do not understand and acknowledge their great need and God’s gracious help belong to the devil. However, if you do not exhort them, or you merely make a law or an annoyance of it, it is your fault if they despise the Sacrament. How could they not be slothful, if you slumber and are silent?

Pulling It Together

The primary task of ministers is two-fold. First, they must teach the law so that people understand they are sinners in danger of God’s judgment. Then they are to preach the gospel so that the people are comforted by God having made a way to forgive and cover their sins through Christ Jesus. This is the great benefit of Holy Communion. There, God pours his grace out upon those who believe what he has provided for them, receiving his forgiveness through eating and drinking Christ himself. We are one with him (1 Cor 6:17) in this physical communion. 

However, if people do not understood and feel their need, they either regard God’s grace as a religious requirement or neglect it altogether. So, pastors must be at once stern and comforting, presenting both law and gospel, so that the congregation knows their need and receives the Sacrament often.

Prayer: Give me, Lord God, the power of your Spirit to live with obedient faith in your Son. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Great Commissions is a six-session Bible study drawing from all four Gospels, as well as the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, to focus on the calling that Jesus has given us and how it works in our everyday lives. Here is a sample PDF of the introduction and first chapter.

Leader's Guide for this study

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1235.html Thu, 21 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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John 6:53–56

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Those who do not highly value the Sacrament are implying they have no sin, no flesh, no devil, no world, no death, no danger, no hell. That is, they do not really believe in such things—though being in them over head and shoulders by being the devil’s own twice-over. Yet, they insinuate that they need no grace, life, paradise, heaven, Christ, God, nor anything good. For if they believed they suffered so much that is evil, and needed so much that is good, they would not neglect the Sacrament by which these evils are remedied and so much good is bestowed. No laws are necessary to force believers to the Sacrament; they will come running, racing of their own accord, forcing themselves and urging you to administer the Sacrament.

Pulling It Together

We have no life in ourselves. Nevertheless, our old, inborn natures want to keep trying to live. Though drowned and buried with Christ in baptism (Rom 6:4), we must be reassured of our death and burial since the old nature so expertly plays the part of a zombie, each day trying to claw its way out of the grave. Christ revives and cures that dead man walking with the true medicine of his body and blood. This is the blessing of grace and renewed life that comes from God as we eat his holy supper—a meal we must receive often, indeed as soon as possible after noticing the dirt is under our fingernails once again.

Prayer: Sustain me, O Lord, through your own death and resurrection. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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The Essential Bible (100 pages) is a readable, easy-to-understand summary of all the major stories in both the Old and New Testaments.  A helpful overview for pastors, seminary professors, Bible study leaders, confirmation instructors, Sunday School teachers, and parents, this book serves as an invaluable tool for teaching about the most important people and events in the scriptures.  The Essential Bible puts readers on a fast track to Biblical literacy. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1234.html Wed, 20 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 11:22–26

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

In conclusion, since the tyranny of the pope has been abolished, people are no longer willing to receive the Sacrament and reject it. Here again, exhortation is essential, but with this understanding: No one should be forced to believe or to receive the Sacrament. Nor should laws or places be established for it. Rather, preach in such a way that they desire the Sacrament of their own accord, without law, and as it were, compel us pastors to administer the Sacrament.

This may be accomplished by telling them it is a concern that whoever does not seek the Sacrament at least three or four times a year despises the Sacrament and is no Christian—just as he is not a Christian who does not believe or hear the Gospel. For Christ did not say, Omit this, or, Despise this, but, “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:25). Truly, he wants it done, not neglected and despised. “Do this,” he says.

Pulling It Together

Some people think of Holy Communion as a sort of magic act: a specific incantation recited by an approved class of people. Others think of it as a legal act, something one must do in order to be right with God. In either case, Christ has been left out. For it is Christ who both speaks and acts in the Sacrament. The sacramental work has nothing to do with either officiant or recipients. It is Christ alone from start to finish. We do not satisfy God by our showing up. Rather, we celebrate the fact that it is Christ who satisfied his Father for us. We are merely remembering what he told us to do: receive God’s grace through his body and blood. “Often.”

Prayer: I remember you, Lord, and give you thanks. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1233.html Wed, 13 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Ephesians 4:11–16

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Make it very plain to them the great harm they are causing by refusing to support the training of children to be pastors, preachers, clerks, etc., and that God will punish them terribly for this neglect. For such preaching is needed, as parents and magistrates are now sinning unspeakably in this respect. The devil has an evil intent here.

Pulling It Together

It is clear Luther consider the catechism part of the wider education of children. Further, he believed the catechism could instill in them a heart to serve both church and community. The catechism then must be a lifelong discipline. It is not something that happens at an early age and is put behind us and forgotten. It is not a graduation but rather, the beginning of a life of virtuous service.

Prayer: Make me a strong supporter of your body, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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The General Epistles offers a series of 12 Bible studies based on Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, and Jude. The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1232.html Tue, 12 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Proverbs 1:5–6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

You should also urge officials and parents to rule well and to send their children to school. Show them why it is their duty to do this, and what a damnable sin they are committing if they do not, for by such neglect they overthrow and destroy both the kingdom of God and that of the world, acting as the worst enemies both of God and of men.

Pulling It Together

One more verse in today’s Scripture, and it reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Pro 1:7). As we “should fear, love, and trust God above all things,” we should not learn only his commandments and acts. We should learn about God, his character, his inclination toward us. This is difficult to do without the ability to read and reason. Therefore, one of the primary ways Christians might be involved in a kind of local mission is by volunteering to read to elementary students, and providing one-to-one tutoring in the schools for students who need help with reading.

Prayer: Use me, Lord, to advance the cause and ability to read the Holy Bible. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1231.html Mon, 11 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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Deuteronomy 8:3

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

Place your emphasis on that commandment or other part of the catechism that suffers the greatest neglect among your people. For instance, stress the Seventh Commandment, concerning stealing, among laborers and merchants, and even farmers and servants, for many of them are guilty of dishonesty and theft. Just so, emphasize the Fourth Commandment among the children and the common people so that they may lead orderly, faithful, obedient, and peaceful lives. Offer many examples from the Scriptures to show how God has punished or blessed such persons.

Pulling It Together

You will find different areas of stress in your ministry—whether it be a commandment, article, petition, or Sacrament that needs emphasis in the lives of your flock, or in your own life. Do not ignore where the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. As you teach, you will find that the doors of the catechism swing outward and inward too.

Prayer: Feed me with your word, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Today, the reliability of the Gospel is questioned or denied by many voices, inside and outside the Church. But if we, as Christians, have only "hoped" in Christ, and do not see Him as reliable, then we are "most to be pitied." This series by As We Go Ministries examines the reliability of central claims of the Christian faith, including the truth of Scripture, the promise of the Gospel, and the certainty of Christ's death and resurrection for our sake. 

The series requires the accompanying video DVD featuring the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church, in Hutchinson, Minnesota: the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan. 

Click the thumbnails for product descriptions and ordering details. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1230.html Sat, 09 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Philippians 3:10

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Then, after you have taught them this condensed catechism, take up a large catechism, and give them a richer and fuller understanding. Expand on the meaning of each commandment, petition, and article, with its various uses, benefits, dangers, and difficulties, as you will find these abundantly discussed in many books written about these topics. 

Pulling It Together

It is inconceivable that a person would say of the one she loves, I’ve had enough of him; it’s time for a new stage of life. Even so, being Christian is not something that finally happens, or a chapter of life from which one graduates. Being a Christian means following Christ for one’s entire life, and with one’s whole life. And the reason for this is clear: you want to know him more and more. A Christian wants to know Jesus with more than head-knowledge; she desires heart-knowledge. She wants an intimate relationship with Christ. That does not happen in a brief span of time. It happens over a lifetime.

So, we do not begin and end with the teachings in The Small Catechism. We move on to larger and deeper things. We move through a life together, one grace after another, growing up in salvation (1 Pet 2:2), so that we may more fully know him whom we love.

Prayer: I want to know you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, The Life of Martin Luthera nine-session adult study, takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1229.html Fri, 08 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Psalm 119:130

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

After they have learned the text, teach them the meaning too. Again, choose the explanations in this booklet, or some other brief, uniform explanations, whichever you like, and adhere to it. As stated earlier regarding the text, do not change a single syllable. Furthermore, take your time to present the parts one at a time. It is not necessary that you present all of them at once. After they correctly understand the First Commandment, then take up the Second, and so on. Otherwise, they will be too overwhelmed to retain anything properly.

Pulling It Together

God’s word opens the door of the mind. Yet it does far more since it is not merely that which opens, but is itself the gateway to a person’s spirit. For this part of a person (1 Thes 5:23) to properly develop, it must do so under the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit. It is God, through his Word, who recreates us in his own image. But how does he do this regenerative work? Scripture is clear. “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 RSV). Where does God reveal himself most objectively than through Christ Jesus, and thus, through Scripture? It is through seeing God in Scripture that we begin to become like him, finally becoming like him in glory on that Day.

Seeing God begins with being taught these basic verses and explanations found in the Small Catechism. The Spirit of God uses that Word to begin a transformative process, a regeneration of the whole person. The person who keeps faith in Christ—effectively taught and learned in the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacraments, and the Creed—is the one who will become like God, fully having his righteousness and eternal life, even as believers enjoy now by faith. He will fully reveal to you that which you have already been given through faith in Christ.

Prayer: Give me, O God, a confident hope of glory, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

   

Today, the reliability of the Gospel is questioned or denied by many voices, inside and outside the Church. But if we, as Christians, have only "hoped" in Christ, and do not see Him as reliable, then we are "most to be pitied." This series by As We Go Ministries examines the reliability of central claims of the Christian faith, including the truth of Scripture, the promise of the Gospel, and the certainty of Christ's death and resurrection for our sake. 

The series requires the accompanying video DVD featuring the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church, in Hutchinson, Minnesota: the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan. 

Click the thumbnails for product descriptions and ordering details. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1228.html Thu, 07 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Deuteronomy 11:18–19

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Although we cannot and should not force anyone to believe, we should nonetheless insist that the people know what is right and wrong according to those among whom they live and desire to make their living. For whoever desires to reside in a town must know and observe the town laws whose protection he wishes to enjoy, no matter whether he is a believer or, at heart and in private, a troublemaker or crook.

Pulling It Together

Too often, we hear something along this line: We have decided to let our children make up their own minds. All the while, the rest of the world has free access to the minds of these same children. Then parents wonder why their children grow up to be unproductive or worse. They wonder if they had raised these now adult children, or say things like, We didn’t raise them to be like this. Well, yes, you did.

You are not forcing anyone to believe by teaching the catechism, or for that matter spelling or science. You are providing adequate tools for the future. One cannot make up a mind, if that part of the mind is deficient. Having never taught them to spell, we would be quite foolish to imagine our children could get along in society by choosing to spell words with whatever combination of letters they decided should be used. Having never allowed them to be taught any science, we would be poor parents indeed, who allowed our children to go up a ladder and learn about gravity the hard way.

You cannot force anyone to believe, but you can supply the tools and information necessary to, at very least, live a moral life—if not one that is godly.

Prayer: Give me the courage to be a responsible Christian, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Click any of the covers for these new overviews of the
Old and New Testaments, with separate Leader's Guides.

  

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1227.html Wed, 06 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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John 8:36

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Those who are unwilling to learn it should be told that they deny Christ and are not Christians. They should not be admitted to the Sacrament, be sponsors at baptisms, nor enjoy any part of Christian liberty. Simply return them to the pope and his officials, indeed, to the devil himself. Moreover, their parents and employers should refuse them food and drink, and notify them that the prince will drive such crude people from the country, etc.

Pulling It Together

The point here is that our people are to take the catechism seriously. But why?, one might object. It’s only some program Luther invented. First, there were many catechisms before Luther (and since). Second, and most importantly, when Luther’s Small Catechism is taught correctly, Christians learn to follow Christ instead of religion. In other words, the catechism teaches us and will thereafter remind us that it is Christ who sets us free of sin and death—of the devil too. If people are unwilling to learn about God’s grace, we may as well be done with them.   

Prayer: I want to follow you, Lord. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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The Minor Prophets in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is a twelve lesson study that peeks at each of the dozen books we call the minor prophets, books that are often forgotten or neglected. Yet, their messages are deeply relevant for today's believer. The prophetical books contain God's call upon His followers of every century. These exhortations are either calls to positive actions that honor God or warnings to stop attitudes and behaviors that dishonor Him. As we rediscover these profound words, we will be reminded of what it means to follow and obey God, as well as be challenged to live a life that glorifies God in greater and more significant ways.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1226.html Tue, 05 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Deuteronomy 11:18–19

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Choose the version you like, and stick with it thereafter. But when you preach in the presence of educated and intelligent people, you may exhibit your knowledge, and present the parts of the catechism in varied and sophisticated ways, giving them as masterful a turn as you are able. But when teaching the young, stick to one, fixed, permanent form and manner. Begin with these parts: the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, etc. Match the text word for word, so that they can repeat these parts in the same way after you and commit them to memory.

Pulling It Together

What does it mean to “impress” the word of God on your heart and soul but to memorize Scripture? Other translations use “place,” “deposit,” “lay up,” and “fix.” It all means the same thing: know the Word. We begin with foundational Scripture, teaching our youth, not only these verses that will prove helpful for a lifetime but also, the discipline of memorizing more Scripture as they mature in the faith. Do not be worried about expecting memorization; it is a beneficial exercise and one that God commands.  

Prayer: Help me, O God, to meditate in your Word day and night. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Where does the Bible come from? Who decided what should be included in it? How do we know it is reliable? Why should we even care what it says? And even if we do care, how can we make sense of of such a big and confusing book? Author and pastor Tom Hilpert takes readers on a journey of discovery through the world's best-selling and most-printed book. Written in clear, understandable language, Who Cares About the Bible? tackles the most important questions concerning this unique book. It is an excellent primer for anyone interested in what the Bible is, how to properly understand it, and how to deal with the vast amount of misleading information that has been spread about it.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1225.html Mon, 04 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Proverbs 22:6

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Our blessed fathers understood this well, for they used the same form of the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. Therefore, we should also teach the catechism to the young and untrained in such a way that we do not vary a syllable, not presenting or reciting them differently from one year to the next.

Pulling It Together

What a privilege we have been afforded, that God would entrust to his church the training of young disciples. Like Jesus, we might say to any child or youth, “Follow me.” Of course, they do not simply follow us to a Sunday School room where we teach them to memorize the catechism. We are showing them how we live the catechism, so that they will follow our example.

Prayer: Help me, Lord Jesus, to do my part in your church. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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In Prayer as Joy, Prayer as Struggle, Mark Braaten explores many types of prayer, including thanksgiving, confession, praise, wrestling, petition, intercession, listening, and hope. He also explores what it means when the answer to prayer is "no" and how we experience prayer in times of doubt. In each chapter, he uses and extended biblical example of prayer and also provides the text of prayers we can use in our own practice. For all who seek joy in prayer, even as we struggle, Braaten offers an engaging personal and pastoral reflection on the ways we pray.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1223.html Sat, 02 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 28:19–20

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Let those of you who cannot do better take these booklets and forms and read them to the people word for word as follows. But first, let the preacher take great care to avoid many kinds of or various texts and forms of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Sacraments, etc. Choose one form, adhere to it, and use it to teach year after year. Young people and the uneducated must be taught with uniform, settled texts and forms. They are easily confused when taught one way now, and in a year some other way—as though wishing to make improvements. In doing so, the teacher’s efforts and labors are lost.

Pulling It Together

Walking to elementary school, I would stop by Chris’ house so we could walk together. Many mornings I had to wait for him to finish writing the 50 states and their capitals on yellow, lined paper. His parents had him write them every day in order to memorize them, and I suppose to instill the discipline of learning. What is hard to imagine is that they did nothing else. I expect they talked about those places and even took him to visit more than a few state capitals.

I can imagine no better method for a parent to disciple children than by using the catechism. Teach it well by having them write it out, and recite it at meals or while driving to school. Talk about what it means—not just Luther’s explanation but what it means to you. Driving home from worship or at Sunday dinner, remind them of a part of the liturgy or the sermon, and challenge them to tell you what part of the catechism was suggested. Talk about it from your own experience: eg: how the catechism guided you at work.  

Likewise, I can think of no better way for a pastor to disciple than to teach people the catechism. Do not be conformed to this present age, when memorization and hard work is frowned upon. But find ways to make your disciples’ efforts fun and rewarding. Take them to the local pizza joint some Sunday afternoon and recite the commandments one commandment at a time around the table. Have them tell you what commandments, petitions, and articles they noticed in your sermon that morning. Then tell them what this means to you.  

But do not stop there. Continue teaching the catechism to your disciples—all of them in the pews and homes and hospitals—until their last breath, or yours. Even on that last day, the Creed will be recited, the Lord’s own prayer prayed, and the sacrament of baptism remembered. Christian discipleship, and thus, the catechism is something we live into and with which we die well.

Prayer: Direct me, Lord, to fear, love, and trust you above all things. Amen.

Click here for resources to begin memorizing the Ten Commandments.

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Luther's Small Cat: Learning the Ten Commandments teaches the Ten Commandments according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Third Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism Children's Version. Lessons emphasize a Lutheran understanding of God's Word as both Law and Gospel, calling for faithful obedience and showing the need for Christ's forgiveness and grace.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1222.html Fri, 01 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Luke 9:23

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Therefore, I implore you all for God’s sake, my dear colleagues who are pastors or preachers, to wholeheartedly devote yourselves to your office by having pity on those entrusted to you, and by helping us teach the Catechism to the people, especially the young.

Pulling It Together

Our culinary palates may develop, given experience, but the basics remain the same. The food groups used to make exotic dishes are the same as simple dishes. We cannot stray far from what nourishes, though we might spice it up a bit.

The Catechism is basic to the Christian faith. The Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacraments, and what is taught in the Apostles’ Creed are not only essential, but feed our spirits throughout life. One can never get far from these fundamentals.

So, pastors, teach it early and often. Never give up. Refer to the commandments, the petitions, the Sacraments, and the articles as you teach, preach, and counsel. Make it a part of your everyday language.

And, Christian, meditate on these essential teachings of the faith. Recite the commandments as you wait on worship to begin, or for that matter, when you are waiting in line at the grocery or filling your gas tank. Use the Catechism—daily, often—and grow in faith. The Catechism is not something we learn and then forget. It is something we grow into each day of our lives.

Prayer: Help me, Spirit of God, to walk in the Word today. Amen.

Click here for resources to begin memorizing the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1221.html Thu, 28 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 25:23

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What will you bishops answer Christ for so shamefully neglecting the people, and never for a moment discharging your office? May you escape the consequences. You command the Sacrament in one form, insisting on your human laws, while not caring in the least whether the people know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, or any part of the Word of God. Woe upon woe to you forever!

Pulling It Together

This is a charge that may be leveled at all pastors, not merely bishops. How can pastors avoid God’s disapproval (to put it mildly) of neglecting their calls? Pastors share in the joy of their Lord by dutifully preaching and teaching the gospel, and by faithfully administering the means of God’s grace in the Sacraments. To be clear, there are many ways to displease the Caller of the called. It does not happen through bad doctrine alone, such as withholding the cup at Communion. It also happens when pastors are so administratively focused that the Word takes a back seat in their ministries. Meetings and paperwork tend to make people think they are getting things (the right things) done, when they are simply busy. So, pastors must make time for prayer, and teach the people how to do the same.

Click here for resources to begin memorizing the Ten Commandments.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, focus me in your Word. Amen.

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Winning, Losing, Loving; The Gospel in the Old Testament traces themes of chosenness, sin, and grace throughout the early books of the Bible. These cycles of sin and redemption point forward toward God's ultimate act of redemption in Jesus Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1220.html Wed, 27 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Deuteronomy 6:5–7

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

Luther’s Preface to the Small Catechism

Martin Luther to all faithful and godly pastors and preachers:

Grace, mercy, and peace in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The deplorable and sad conditions which I recently discovered when I visited congregations, have compelled and driven me to prepare this small, plain, and simple catechism of Christian teaching. Mercy! Good God, what assorted wretchedness I beheld. The common people, especially in the villages, have no knowledge of Christian doctrine whatsoever, and regrettably, many pastors are altogether incapable and incompetent to teach. Nevertheless, all insist that they are Christians, have been baptized, and receive the holy Sacraments. Yet they do not know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments. They live like oafs and irrational swine. Although the Gospel has been restored, they have mastered instead, the abuse of their emancipation.

Pulling It Together

Luther visited the parishes of Saxony and Meissen from October 22, 1528, through January 9, 1529. Years before this visitation, he had spoken of writing a catechism for the instruction of children. His inspection of the congregations required its publication. Indeed, he worked on two catechisms. The Small Catechism was not intended for children alone, as earlier imagined, but for families. The Large Catechism was meant for instructing the clergy. 

This instruction utilized a simple and ancient principle: memorization. The Greek word katecho means to sound again, to repeat. In learning The Small Catechism, we begin with memorizing it so that it is handy, a ready reference, as near as the heart’s remembrance. I hope that, if you have not already done so, you will take the time during our study of The Small Catechism, to learn it by heart. I will provide several tools in the course that I hope will aid you in the effort. Click here for resources to begin memorizing the Ten Commandments.

Prayer: Lord God, put your commandments within my heart. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola 2010 edition of Martin Luther's Small Catechism is a faithful, word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism. This pocket edition includes quotations from the English Standard Versions (ESV) of Scripture and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship).

The red version uses the words "holy catholic Church," while the blue version uses "holy Christian Church."

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1218.html Tue, 26 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Philippians 3:1

Pulling It Together

Today, I reverse the order of the lesson. Why? I want you to pay closer attention to what may seem a simple afterword of the Treatise, or even of the Augsburg Confession and its Apology. There is something more to these articles than doctrine; there is an attitude expressed at number 32 below that would serve the Church of Christ well. If we would adopt his approach, theology and biblical literacy among our churches would vastly improve. Blauer’s paragraph is removed from modern copies of Lutheran Confessions. I keep it here and hope you read his passionate words.

I also pray you will read these Confessions again (“and again and again”). Look up the passages in your Bible and pray. The repetition does you good. You may want to go all the way back to the beginning and start over. Perhaps you started somewhere in the middle anyway.

Yet, if you wish to keep moving forward with me, then know that tomorrow we begin The Small Catechism section of the Book of Concord.

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Doctors and preachers who subscribed to the Augsburg Confession and Apology, A.D. 1537

According to the command of the most illustrious princes and of the orders and states professing the doctrine of the Gospel, we have reread the articles of the Confession presented to the Emperor in the Assembly at Augsburg, and by the favor of God, all the preachers who have been present in this Assembly at Smalcald harmoniously declare that they believe and teach in their churches according to the articles of the Confession and Apology. They also declare that they approve the article concerning the primacy of the pope and his power, and the power and jurisdiction of bishops, which was presented to the princes in this Assembly at Smalcald. Accordingly, they subscribe their names.

1. I, Dr. John Bugenhagen of Pomerania, subscribe to the Articles of the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, and the Article presented to the princes at Smalcald concerning the papacy.

2. I also, Dr. Urban Rhegius, Superintendent of the churches in the Duchy of Lueneburg, subscribe.

3. Nicolaus Amsdorf of Magdeburg, subscribed.

4. George Spalatin of Altenburg, subscribed.

5. I, Andrew Osiander, subscribe.

6. Magister Veit Dieterich of Nuernberg, subscribed.

7. Stephen Agricola, Minister at Hof, subscribed with his own hand.

8. John Draconites of Marburg, subscribed.

9. Conrad Figenbotz, subscribed to all throughout.

10. Martin Bucer.

11. I, Erhard Schnepf, subscribe.

12. Paul Rhodius, Preacher in Stettin.

13. Gerhard Oeniken, Minister of the Church at Minden.

14. Brixius Northanus, Minister at Soest.

15. Simon Schneweis, Pastor of Crailsheim.

16. I, Pomeranus [John Bugenhagen], again subscribe in the name of Magister John Brentz, as he ordered me.

17. Philip Melanchthon subscribes with his own hand.

18. Anthony Corvinus subscribes with his own hand, as well as in the name of Adam of Fulda.

19. John Schlainhauffen subscribes with his own hand.

20. Magister George Helt of Forchheim.

21. Michael Coelius, Preacher at Mansfeld.

22. Peter Geltner, Preacher of the Church of Frankfort.

23. Dionysius Melander, subscribed.

24. Paul Fagius of Strassburg.

25. Wendel Faber, Pastor of Seeburg in Mansfeld

26. Conrad Oettinger of Pforzheim, Preacher of Ulric, Duke of Wuerttemberg.

27. Boniface Wolfart, Minister of the Word of the Church at Augsburg.

28. John Aepinus, Superintendent of Hamburg, subscribed with his own hand.

29. John Amsterdam of Bremen does the same.

30. John Fontanus, Superintendent of Lower Hesse, subscribed.

31. Frederick Myconius subscribed for himself and Justus Menius.

32. Ambrose Blaurer.

I have read, and again and again reread, the Confession and Apology presented at Augsburg by the Most Illustrious Prince, the Elector of Saxony, and by the other princes and estates of the Roman Empire, to his Imperial Majesty. I have also read the Formula of Concord concerning the Sacrament, made at Wittenberg with Dr. Bucer and others. I have also read the articles written at the Assembly at Smalcald in the German language by Dr. Martin Luther, our most revered teacher, and the tract concerning the papacy and the power and jurisdiction of bishops. In my humble opinion, I judge that all these agree with Holy Scripture and with the belief of the true and genuine catholic Church.

In so great a number of learned men who have now assembled at Smalcald, I acknowledge that I am the least of all yet, as I am not permitted to await the end of the assembly, I ask you, most renowned man, Dr. John Bugenhagen, most revered Father in Christ, that your courtesy might add my name, if it be necessary, to all that I have mentioned above. For I testify in this my own handwriting that I hold, confess, and will constantly teach these things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

John Brentz, Minister of Hall
Done at Smalcald, February 23, 1537.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, keep me in the faith, through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

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Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1217.html Mon, 25 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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James 5:1–6

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

They should remember that riches have been given to bishops as offerings for the administration and advantage of the churches, as the rule states: “The benefice is given because of the office.” Therefore, they cannot possess these offerings with a good conscience while fleecing the Church, which has need of these resources for supporting ministers, providing education, caring for the poor, and establishing courts—especially for marital cases. The matrimonial controversies are so great in variety and extent that a special tribunal is needed, but which may only be established with the endowments of the Church.

Peter predicted that there would be godless bishops who would abuse the offerings of the Church for luxury, and neglect the ministry. Therefore let those who defraud the Church know that they will pay God the penalty for this crime.

Pulling It Together

It is bad enough when the person outside the church swindles people so that he may live in excess. When leaders of the church of God do this to the very ones whom the Lord has called them to serve, it is nothing short of an obscene blotch on the character of the whole church. Other leaders must step in, if only to do what is right. Yet there are other good reasons even for doing the right thing. Mission. Education. The poor among us. How can these things move forward when some keep for themselves the resources given the church? This is not a charge to be leveled only at bishops or pastors. Congregations are notorious for keeping the Lord’s resources for themselves, for that stormy day they fear so much. They do well to fear, for the Lord promises they will pay for their transgressions.

Prayer: Give me courage to rely on you, Lord, so that I may be a benefit to my neighbor. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of LCMC, NALC, CALC, Lutheran Core, and other confessional Lutherans from congregations across North America. Connections is published six times a year. 

Subscribe today.

For information on congregational/group orders, click HERE.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1216.html Sat, 23 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Timothy 3:1–7

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

The bishops who are devoted to the pope defend godless doctrines and services. They do not ordain godly teachers, and even assist the pope’s cruelty. They have seized jurisdiction from pastors, and only oppressively exercise it. Lastly, they observe many unjust laws in matrimonial cases. These reasons therefore, being sufficiently numerous, make it necessary that the churches should not recognize them as bishops.

Pulling It Together

Those who oversee the affairs of the church are not to be loathed because of their office, whether it be called overseer, bishop, president, or otherwise. Nor should the office itself be considered bad because there have been problems with individuals in the past. Clearly, God wants people to manage his church but they must be the right people. There are qualifications, and the church must see to it that they first, qualify, and then, live up to those qualifications. If not, the example of the Lutheran Reformers is appropriate: do not recognize those persons as fitting to fill the office.

Prayer: Raise up qualified leaders for your church, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1215.html Fri, 22 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Mark 10:5–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Since they have framed certain unjust marriage laws, and apply them in their courts, there is further reason to establish other courts. The traditions concerning spiritual relationships are unjust, as is the tradition forbidding an innocent person to marry after divorce. Also unjust is the law that generally approves all secret and dishonest betrothals in violation of the right of parents. The law concerning the celibacy of priests is also unjust. There are other snares of consciences in their laws, but a recital would be of no profit. It is sufficient to have said this: that there are many unjust papal laws concerning matrimonial matters that demonstrate the need for magistrates to establish other courts.

Pulling It Together

If there are issues in a Christian marriage, a pastor may address them with what is written. Scripture provides abundant comfort and assistance on the specific subject as well as on general topics that are helpful to a marriage. Yet, if the issue lies beyond the reach of the church, let the matter be taken up in civil court. The real issue here, is one of conscience. Scripture provides comfort for those who will amend their ways. However, when new ecclesiastical laws are contrived to control people—for whatever reason—conscience may (and should) always appeal to the Word.

Prayer: Bless Christian marriages, Lord, with your presence in both law and grace. Amen.

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Alphabet Soup is a four-unit (seven lessons each) Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1207.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 20:25–28

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 64

Jurisdiction remains in those cases that, according to canon law, pertain to the ecclesiastical court, as they call it, and especially in cases of matrimony. The bishops only have this too, by human right, and not for very long, as it appears from the Codex and Novellae of Justinian that decisions concerning marriage belonged to the magistrates at that time. By divine right, civil judges are compelled to make these decisions if the bishops are negligent. The canons also acknowledge the same. Therefore, it is not necessary to obey bishops because of this jurisdiction either.

Pulling It Together

While pastors should be concerned that the Word of God is upheld in the church, they should do so only from the position of the Word’s authority. Otherwise, they have no authority. Pastors, including bishops, are called to speak God’s truth, not to exercise their own fabricated authority. When the Word is given backseat, tempers flare and self-interests dominate. When the will of God is ignored, human will always muscles in, injuring those very persons the church’s leaders are called to serve. Look to Jesus, who had authority and power to act but chose his Father’s will instead (John 10:17–18). His is the best example of pastoral leadership.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, embolden me with Christ’s courage so that I might serve others. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1206.html Wed, 20 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 John 5:1–5

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Therefore, since the bishops have tyrannically assigned this jurisdiction to themselves alone, and have dishonorably abused it, there is no need, because of this jurisdiction, to obey the bishops. Since there are just reasons why we do not obey, it is also appropriate to restore this authority to godly pastors, and see to it that it is rightly used for the reformation of morals and the glory of God.

Pulling It Together

When the institutional church acts like the world system, there is only one answer: faith in Christ—complete trust in the truth of his gospel. Christ alone will see you through. Raging against the machine is the world’s answer. You must trust in him and behave like his church when all around you seem to have lost their souls. This is how one keeps the faith and lives faithfully.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, give me eyes that focus on Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Of One Mind and Purpose is a six-session study examines the unique way in which the Bible describes being united in Christ. It explains how God’s Word can either divide people or bring them together in faith, showing how the relationship we have with one another in the Church comes through Christ alone.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1205.html Tue, 19 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Proverbs 29:2

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

And in what kind of instances did they abuse this power? Certainly not in punishing true offenses, but as concern violations of fasts or festivals, or similar trifles. They sometimes punished adulteries, yet often abusing and defaming innocent and honorable people. Besides, since this is a very serious wrong, no one should be condemned without due process of law.

Pulling It Together

The story of Haman in the Old Testament book of Esther may not be as well known as it should be. Haman was that sort of dishonorable civil official who purchases position and favor (Est 3:15). During the time of Queen Esther, he acted behind the scenes to rid the land of Jews. His obvious maneuvering of King Ahasuerus left the people bewildered. But national politics are not the only kind of affairs that exasperate good people. Church government, on both local and denominational levels, can make people groan under the gravity of unilateral rule.

Prayer: Give me your peace, Lord, during trying times. Amen.

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Good clean laughs woven together with the wisdom of Scripture. Come for the jokes, stay for the devotions. If you think that laughter and religion don't mix, think again! Both volumes of Joke Devotions contain total 200 daily devotions that flow one into the other. If you have a sense of humor and a sense of piety, this book is for you. If you know someone who likes a good joke but isn't sure about their faith, this book is for them.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1204.html Mon, 18 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Thessalonians 3:14–15

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

It is certain that the common authority to excommunicate those guilty of clear offenses belongs to all pastors. The bishops have oppressively transferred this jurisdiction to themselves alone, and have used it for gain. For it is clear that the officials, as they are called, employed intolerable license and, either because of greed or because of other immoral desires, tormented men and excommunicated them without any due process of law. What tyranny it is for civil officials to have the power to arbitrarily condemn and excommunicate men without due process of law!

Pulling It Together

If anyone does not obey the apostolic word, it is the responsibility of pastors to offer a biblical corrective to that sister or brother —even if that correction goes so far as terminating church ties with those who are not faithful. This is often called an unloving thing to do, I think because it is so hard to do. So, pastors must live up to the apostolic bar, even denying Christian fellowship to those who are willfully disobedient. The hope is, that in doing so, that person will repent and be restored to Christian fellowship. If this is the apostolic injunction about laziness, we should be confident it applies to all other clear sins.

Prayer: Help me be faithful, Lord, to you and to your church. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confirmation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

This pocket edition features quotations from the English Standard Version (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1203.html Fri, 15 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Timothy 5:17–18

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

We have spoken of ordination, which is the only thing, as Jerome says, distinguishing bishops from other elders. Therefore, there is need of no discussion about other duties of bishops. Nor is it necessary to speak of confirmation, nor of the consecration of bells, which are almost the only things they have kept for themselves. Yet, something must be said about jurisdiction.

Pulling It Together

Beware of bishops, pastors, and elders who busy themselves with duties that range often from the ministry of Word and Sacrament. Even in the overseer’s duty of ordination, this ministry of the office is celebrated—often in the best and highest manner. However, when it gets down to the office being “celebrated” by meetings and other human deliberations, the danger can be that the human is being lifted above the divine. But let those who oversee well, tending to the ministry of the gospel, be honored among us.

Prayer: Help me, God, to honor those who look to my care in Christ. Amen.

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The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

A separate Leader's Guide is available. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1202.html Thu, 14 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Galatians 1:6–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

All these things make it clear that the Church holds the right to elect and ordain ministers. The wickedness and tyranny of bishops allow cause for schism and discord, because Paul instructs that bishops who teach and defend a godless doctrine and godless services should be considered accursed (Gal 1:7–9).

Pulling It Together

If bishops are apostatic, or will not ordain gifted, confessional people, the churches must ordain their own pastors. Even if some consider this to be division, it is better to be separated from heresy and tyranny than in bed with it. Furthermore, the apostolic injunction demands it and considers such divisions necessary (1 Cor 11:19).

Prayer: Attune my ears to your gospel, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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Learning About Communion teaches the meaning of Holy Communion according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Fifth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. Lessons emphasize the sacramental promise of the forgiveness of sins conveyed to us in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This booklet was designed to be used as a Sunday School unit, or for classes to prepare students for their First Communion.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1201.html Wed, 13 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 4:4

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

A common custom of the Church testifies of this practice, that formerly the people elected pastors and bishops. Then a bishop, either of that church or a neighboring one, confirmed the one elected by the laying on of hands. Ordination was nothing else than such a ratification. New ceremonies were added later, many of which Dionysius describes. But he is a recent and fictitious author, whoever he may be, just as the writings of Clement also are spurious. More recent writers added, “I give thee the power to sacrifice for the living and the dead.” But not even this is in Dionysius.

Pulling It Together

The saying reads, “God is not who you think he is; he is who he says he is.” As goes with the person of God, so it goes with doctrine: it is revealed in his Word. One might add anything to Scripture but the wise person takes the position of, “It is written.” When Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments (Deut 5:6–21), he added that these commands were from the mouth of God, that we cannot live without them (Deut 8:3). Jesus quotes those inspired words of the lawgiver. We may try to live in other ways, with either physical food or false religion. But it ends in death. We may add to what is written and call it the law. But it is counterfeit.

Christ’s single sacrifice is received through faith in God’s grace toward us—not through theatrical repetition. It is written (Heb 10:10–18). Calling people to faith in God—who he says he is and how he tells us to be his people—is the job description of all pastors and bishops. Let them honor their callings through what is written. Sola Scriptura allows no place for fiction.

Prayer: Help me hear you, Lord, in what is written. Amen.

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The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1200.html Tue, 12 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Peter 2:9–10

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Lastly, Peter’s statement also confirms this: “You…are a royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9). These words pertain to the true church, which certainly has the right to elect and ordain ministers since it alone has the priesthood.

Pulling It Together

Everyone of faith in Christ is a priest of God. The church is that “holy nation” Peter means when he speaks of God’s people. From that chosen race, God calls each to a certain vocation. One vocation is the office of pastoral ministry. To be sure, this office is not the priesthood, as the whole church, all of God’s people, is that priesthood. Peter refers to all Christians scattered throughout the world (1 Pet 1:1) as this holy nation and race of priests. Luther referred to the church as the “priesthood of all believers” many times in his writings, meaning every Christian’s vocation is holy, important, and necessary for Christ’s Church. That company of true priests unto God have the responsibility and the privilege to ordain and call certain of their number to the ministry of Word and Sacrament.  

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for choosing me, a sinner. Amen.

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We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1199.html Mon, 11 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 18:19–20

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

So, when necessity dictates, even a layman absolves and becomes the minister and pastor of another. Augustine narrates the story of two Christians in a ship, one of whom baptized the catechumen, who after Baptism, then absolved the baptizer. Here belong the statements of Christ that testify the keys have been given to the Church—not merely to certain people. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20).

Pulling It Together

The keys belong to Christ and are used in his name and in his presence. Therefore, one cannot insist upon this or that without the authority and presence of Christ. It follows that this cannot be the case unless there is agreement in the church of at least this quorum of two or three who are in agreement. For otherwise, Christ is not present. The keys only operate in the presence of Christ in his church.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Father. Amen.

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Portraits of Jesus is a nine-session Bible study that explores the "I AM" statements given to us by Jesus himself. In comparing Jesus' words with related Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, the study provides a well-rounded look at the center of our faith in Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1198.html Sat, 09 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Ephesians 4:4–6

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

For wherever the Church is, there is the authority to administer the Gospel. Therefore it is necessary for the Church to retain the authority to call, elect, and ordain ministers. This authority is a gift given to the Church which no human power can force from the Church, as Paul also testifies to the Ephesians when he says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men” (Eph 4:8). He specifies pastors and teachers as gifts expressly belonging to the Church, and adds that these are given for the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Therefore, wherever there is a true church, the right to elect and ordain ministers necessarily exists.

Pulling It Together

The Augsburg Confession declares that the church is the gathering of saints where the gospel is purely taught and the sacraments are properly administered (Article VII). How is this to happen unless God calls ministers, and the Spirit of the Lord imbues them with his gifts? How are they to minister in and to the church unless the church affirms their calling? So, let us apply ourselves to recognizing those in our assemblies who have the gifts and graces specific to the vocation of a minister of the gospel. That is the church’s responsibility. It is, additionally, her right and responsibility to call and ordain them. Let nothing and no one stand in the way of our privileged responsibility.

Prayer: Give your church focus, Lord. Amen.

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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

Student Workbook  •  Leader's Guide

 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1197.html Fri, 08 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Luke 9:1–2

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Since divine authority does not differentiate ranks of bishop and pastor, it is clear that ordination administered by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine law. Therefore, when the regular bishops become enemies of the Church, or are unwilling to administer ordination, the churches retain their own right of ordination.

Pulling It Together

It is Christ Jesus who sends out his ministers. While this is certainly ratified in the church and through the laying on of hands, let us be careful that we do not presume too much for ourselves. Ministers of the gospel are not authorized by human agency. Rather, they are empowered by God so that his mission of preaching Christ’s kingdom may continually advance. When elected bishops persecute the gospel and hamper the church’s primary function of preaching and teaching that gospel, churches have the authority to ordain their own ministers. God’s work through the vocation of preachers must not and will not be impeded.

Prayer: Give us pastors, Lord, who preach under your authority. Amen.

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Written in clear, understandable language, Who Cares About the Bible? tackles the most important questions concerning this unique book. It is an excellent primer for anyone interested in what the Bible is, how to properly understand it, and how to deal with the vast amount of misleading information that has been spread about it.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1196.html Thu, 07 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Acts 20:28

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

Jerome therefore, teaches that that the distinctive grades of bishop and elder (or pastor) are by human authority. The subject itself declares this, because the power is the same, as has been stated above. Afterwards, one thing made a distinction between bishops and pastors namely, ordination, because it was determined that one bishop should ordain ministers in a number of churches.

Pulling It Together

Here is the distinguishing labor of all ministers (shepherds) of the gospel: take care of the flock. But how is this accomplished? While there are many tasks in ministering to the needs of a congregation, the chief function, the one that must weave through all other responsibilities, is preaching and teaching the Word. Paul stresses the importance of this charge by saying we are to preach and teach all the time (2 Tim 4:2). The only difference between a bishop and a pastor is that a bishop ordains new pastors. And why is a bishop assigned this duty but that more ministers will preach God’s Word.

Prayer: Lord, raise up new shepherds for your flocks. Amen.

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Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1195.html Wed, 06 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Titus 1:5–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

By everyone’s confession, even our adversaries, it is clear that this power by divine right is common to all who preside over churches, whether they are called pastors, or elders, or bishops. Accordingly Jerome openly teaches in the apostolic letters that all who preside over churches are both bishops and elders, and cites Titus 1:5–6: “This is why I left you in Crete, that you…appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” Then he adds that a bishop must be “the husband of one wife.” Likewise, Peter and John call themselves elders (1 Pet 5:1; 2 John 1). Jerome then adds that it was later that one was chosen over the rest, partly to remedy schism, lest groups divide and rend the Church of Christ. For in Alexandria, from the time of Mark the evangelist to that of the bishops Heracles and Dionysius, the elders always elected one from among themselves, and placed him in a higher station, whom they called bishop, just as an army would make a commander for itself. The deacons, moreover, may elect from among themselves one whom they know to be active, and name him archdeacon. For, with the exception of ordination, what does a bishop do that an elder does not?

Pulling It Together

The role of bishop is not one of rule and rule making. Rather, a bishop works to hold the church together around the Word. As such, a bishop must ordain new pastors so that the Word will be preached. All other work of a bishop is that which those elders or pastors should do: faithfully teach the Word of God.

Prayer: Lord God, give your church pastors who faithfully teach your Word. Amen.

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This link gives you eight weeks of free samples from the many resources provided for each Sunday of the church year. These resources are provided for each Sunday in the lectionary as well as by entire seasons. They include worship planning pages, lesson inserts, prayers, text studies, hymn suggestions cross-referenced in five Lutheran hymnals, puzzles, children's bulletins, editable bulletin templates for various settings of the liturgy, preformatted, copy-ready liturgies, inserts, and orders of worship for regular and occasional services, simplified hymn music for piano and guitar, as well as original hymn lyrics based on the gospel readings for specific Sundays, that are set to familiar hymn tunes.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1194.html Tue, 05 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 18:15–18

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Concerning the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops

We have written in general terms in the Confession and in the Apology what we have to say about ecclesiastical power.

The Gospel summons those who preside over churches the commands to teach the Gospel, remit sins, administer the Sacraments, and additionally, it commands jurisdiction, that is, the excommunication of those whose sins are known, and again, to absolve those who repent.

Pulling It Together

Congregations—and pastors too—often heap more onto the job description of a pastor than is required, or even good for the church. For example, meetings and other forms of administration often detract from getting the real job done. However, the tough parts of the job are very often neglected. The last one on the list at the beginning of this section of the Treatise is nearly always ignored. Pastors are to withhold Christ’s forgiveness from those who are willfully unrepentant.

Then again, they are to confer his forgiveness if people repent of their sins. This absolution is given freely, as Christ freely gives. No special works of penance are required. Purgatory, an unbiblical invention, is useless, while Christ’s word of pardon is absolute.

Notice that the whole job of a pastor, when performed well, points to Christ: to the gospel, to forgiveness, and to the means of grace.

Prayer: Give your pastors courage and strength to fulfill their callings. Amen.

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I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1193.html Mon, 04 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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John 14:6

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

But those who agree with the pope, defending his doctrine and services of worship, defile themselves with idolatry and blasphemous opinions, become guilty of the blood of the godly whom the pope persecutes, detract from the glory of God, and hinder the welfare of the Church, because in doing so, they strengthen errors and crimes to all generations.

Pulling It Together

We will have disagreement over some matters in the church. Nonetheless, we must never have disagreement about that which is basic. We cannot, for example, do without God or have some other god in the church. But we can do without paraments. We cannot do without believing Christ died for our sins. But we can do without red doors. We can even move on from one pastor to the next, yet cannot do without the one preached. And so, teachings about the decoration of a church building, or conversation about what pastor served you best, can and should be be tolerated. But division over the doctrine of God and his Christ are deplorable and lamentable. As the church cannot exist without God, she cannot live without preaching and teaching correct doctrine. It is not enough to impart head knowledge about God; we must also reach the heart, teaching how God’s grace is apprehended: not by our own services and works, but through Christ alone.

Prayer: Open the eyes of the hearts of all your people, Lord, that they may be united in Christ. Amen.

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The Power of Lent is a series of Lenten dramas pairing two characters each week from the story of Jesus' Passion; bearing witness to what they saw, heard, and felt. Each pair of biblical characters reflects upon a similar theme for the week, showing how the same events brought about very different reactions to Jesus and his identity.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1192.html Sat, 02 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Corinthians 11:18–19

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

His cruelty is also obvious. Furthermore, it is clear that God commands we flee idolatry, godless doctrine, and unjust cruelty. Because of this, all the godly have great, compelling, and obvious reasons for not obeying the pope. These persuasive reasons comfort the godly against all the reproaches—such as dishonor, division, and discord—that are usually cast against them.

Pulling It Together

“That pastor caused such division when he led all those churches out of our denomination.” I heard this statement a couple of years ago while visiting an out-of-state church. Was it really that pastor who caused division? Or was it the fault of those who compromised the Word for the sake of cultural expediency?

Division? Discord? Jesus said that we should expect as much, that indeed, his very presence causes discord (Matt 10:34–37). Furthermore, there will be the same sort of division in the end when the Son of Man separates the sheep from the goats (Matt 25:31–34). Do not allow anyone to shame you about division. Instead, read and pray in the Word, practice and insist upon apostolic teaching, and be at peace with God, even if others will not be at peace with you.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, keep me in your Word, and make me genuine through faith in Christ my Lord. Amen.

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In Harmony with the Word is an eight-session Bible Study that focuses on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. The study would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings or in an informal small-group setting.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1191.html Fri, 01 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Revelation 3:7–13

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Therefore, even if the bishop of Rome had the primacy by divine right, obedience is not due him because he defends godless services and doctrine that conflicts with the Gospel. Indeed, it is necessary to resist him as Antichrist. The errors of the pope are unmistakable and not trifling.

Pulling It Together

Though no one but Christ is head of the church, there remain bishops, pastors, priests, Council presidents, and others in positions of leadership. Be sure they keep the Word of God. Hold them accountable to God’s teaching, not the doctrines of men. If they will not observe the Word, holding fast instead to their own traditions and services, perhaps they are Christian in name only. Nonetheless, you must endure. That does not mean you put up with bad doctrine; it means that you keep the Word even if no one else will.

Prayer: Lord, give me strength to endure. Amen.

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Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1190.html Thu, 31 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Proverbs 11:14

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Since the decisions of Synods—not of popes—are the decisions of the Church, it is especially incumbent on kings to check the license of the popes, and to act so that the Church is not robbed of her power of judgment and decree from the Word of God. As the rest of the Christians must censure all other errors of the pope, they must also rebuke the pope when he eludes and impedes the true inquiry and true judgment of the Church.

Pulling It Together

If a leader makes decisions that are firmly settled in Scripture, there would at least be the counsel of the Word and the Spirit. Most of the church would be glad of such wise guidance, for on the other hand, judgments without the counsel of Scripture are generally made without wisdom, and too often from personal interest. Unchecked, these one-sided decisions eventually lead to abuse of power, and worse, a lack of divine direction.

Prayer: Help me, Father, to listen to the counsel of others. Amen.

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Aimed at Sunday School teachers, helpers, and coordinators, the Leader's Program Manual provides an overview of the whole Sunday Schoolhouse series. In addition to laying out the structure of a Sunday School program for pastors, coordinators and superintendents, it contains basic information for teachers and helpers on using the curricula, conducting class sessions, and creating a disciplined teaching environment.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1189.html Wed, 30 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Timothy 2:8–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Even if the pope holds synods, how can the Church be healed if the pope allows nothing to be settled contrary to his will, if he allows no one expression of opinion except his followers, whom he has sworn by dreadful oaths and curses to defend his tyranny and wickedness without any consideration of God’s Word?

Pulling It Together

Thank God the days are gone when oaths had to be sworn to churchmen. The Christian must be bound to no one but God. The Christian conscience must be captive only to the Word of God, as Luther said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.” Despite the decrees of culture or even church councils, the Christian conscience must always be guided by God’s Word. No matter the consequences, Christ and him crucified and risen, the very message of the gospel, is our worldview. Live by it; die by it; and be at peace with God, even if you cannot be in concord with people.

Prayer: Hold me to your Word, Lord, and give me your peace in my spirit. Amen.

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Pilate's Investigation is a five-part series designed for use during Lent. Each of the dramas feature Pontius Pilate, seeking to learn the identity of the mysterious figure who has been brought to him for judgment. Scripture texts are assigned for each of the dramas, along with notes for the actors.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1188.html Tue, 29 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Psalm 2:10–11

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Especially the chief members of the Church, kings and princes, should guard the interests of the Church, and see to it that errors are removed and consciences healed, as God expressly exhorts kings. “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth” (Psa 2:10). For the first care of kings should be to advance the glory of God. So, it would be very shameful for them to use their influence and power to support idolatry and endless other crimes, and to slaughter saints.

Pulling It Together

How is a guilty conscience to be healed but through the proper instruction of Christianity? Correct teaching about forgiveness of sin would itself, work wonders in the life of a congregation, a synod, a nation. If people only knew how loving the Father is, how willing to forgive the repentant, all but the most belligerent would be at peace with God. Therefore, it would behoove kings, ministers, presidents—and for that matter, mayors, city managers, and other community leaders—who are Christians, to be sure the First Article is properly taught in their own churches. The godly effects would go far further than their own congregations.

Prayer: Give me the courage, Lord, to fulfill my vocation in a way that brings you glory. Amen.

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Of One Mind and Purpose is a six-session study examines the unique way in which the Bible describes being united in Christ. It explains how God’s Word can either divide people or bring them together in faith, showing how the relationship we have with one another in the Church comes through Christ alone.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1186.html Sat, 26 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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John 20:19–23

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

The pope exercises a twofold tyranny: he defends his errors by force and with murders, and he forbids judicial examination. The latter does even more injury than any executions, because when the true judgment of the Church is removed, godless dogmas and profane forms of worship cannot be removed, and therefore, countless souls are destroyed for many ages.

Pulling It Together

The Office of the Keys does not refer to imposing punishments but to absolution and withholding of the forgiveness of sins. When this office is disabled by requiring certain services, the works of human beings, instead of being freely offered through faith responding to God’s grace, then souls are denied his grace. The Keys are God’s voice to the human ear and heart—through the church, not the rule of a particular person. The Keys belong to the whole church, not an individual, which is clear in the plural usage of “you” in the original language (second person plural in the Greek, John 20:23).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Christ, for your gift of forgiveness. Amen.

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We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1185.html Fri, 25 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 6:10

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Question nine of the third canon says: No one shall judge the first seat, for the judge is not judged either by the emperor, or by all the clergy, or by the kings, or by the people.

Pulling It Together

Again, this is not the way of the Word. Christ is not present when there is unilateral authority, as Christ himself is the authority. He has determined to exercise that divine authority in the quorum of at least two believers (Matt 18:20). That is when Christ Jesus makes himself, his own authority, present. This has always been God’s way, as evidenced by the ancient Jewish tradition that God’s glory is not present unless two or three are gathered around the Torah. So let us also, gather around God’s Word together, confident that he is present, and make heavenly decisions under the authority of Christ and his Word.

Prayer: Give me such people in my life, Lord, that we may gather around your Word and know your presence. Amen.

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This six-pack pocket edition of Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confimation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1184.html Thu, 24 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 18:18–20

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Two great sins are added to these errors. First, he defends these errors with unjust cruelty and death penalties. Second, he arrogates the decision from the Church, not permitting ecclesiastical controversies to be judged in the proper manner. Indeed, he insists that he is above councils, and may rescind the decrees of councils, as the canons sometimes impudently assert. Yet this was done far more presumptuously by the popes, as examples confirm.

Pulling It Together

John Hus wrote, “Teach, counsel, punish, console, remit, bear, pray.” Death is not on the list. It was not on Jesus’ list either. Nor were cruel and unjust punishments. Further, these decisions are not unilateral. Jesus requires the counsel of two or more. The decision of a single person about an issue in the church is not binding because Christ Jesus, the head of the church, is present in and honoring of the prayerful considerations of a quorum of two. Such matters require the authority of Christ.

Prayer: Teach your church forgiveness and mercy, Lord, so that you are honored in our dealings with each other. Amen.

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This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week Lenten Series features monologues from Martin Luther himself, based on his writings in the Large Catechism. Luther explains eloquently and simply what each part of the catechism means for us as believers and ends it with an affirmation of certainty: "This is most certainly true!"

Luther's thoughts have been transformed here into dramatic monologues so that we might hear and meditate on the foundations of our Christian faith. In addition to a sample worship service outline, there are hymns suggestions for each monologue and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.

Other Lenten Dramas

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1183.html Wed, 23 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 5:20

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

What darkness the teaching about vows has spread over the Gospel! Here they have pretended that vows are righteousness before God and merit the forgiveness of sins. Thus, they have transferred the benefit of Christ to human traditions, and have completely extinguished the teaching concerning faith. They have feigned that the most insignificant traditions are services of God and perfection, and have preferred these to the works of callings which God requires and has ordained. Neither are these errors to be lightly regarded, for they detract from the glory of Christ and bring destruction to souls. So they cannot be ignored.

Pulling It Together

If our righteousness must excel that of the religious professionals and experts, then where is our hope? Well, if righteousness truly comes through good works, correct dogma, proper services, or acknowledged tradition, then there is no hope. We cannot surpass such so-called righteousness. However, true righteousness is being properly related to Christ Jesus. We are made righteous with God and by God only because of being rightly related to Jesus through faith. We cannot earn this justified or corrected relationship; we are adopted into it through faith in God’s grace toward us.

Prayer: Give me certain hope of eternal life, Lord, through your righteousness ascribed to me. Amen.

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Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1182.html Wed, 16 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 19:11–12

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

What shameful acts have arisen from the tradition concerning celibacy!

Pulling It Together

We will not venture into the details; look to the newspapers for much of what Melancthon means by “shameful acts.” But what of the reason for the tradition of celibacy, such an entrenched tradition that it is considered a Sacrament by so many? For one, being considered a Sacrament, it is said that this celibacy merits forgiveness of sin and salvation.

Now, there is nothing wrong with celibacy for the sake of God’s kingdom on earth, as Jesus says. Paul adds much to this as well. But there is only one thing that merits our justification with God. It is not our efforts—at celibacy or anything else. We are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ. Period.

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Lord, that my faith is firmly in you. Amen.

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By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. It is about the end of traditional Christianity as practiced in modern times—not a futuristic end, but an end already accomplished, or partially accomplished, in a majority of countries, cities, and churches. Strange as it seems, many Christians haven't noticed. But others were so concerned they've gathered in these pages the wisdom of alert pastors, theologians, laity, young seminarians, and evangelicals. They all have a story to tell you in their own voices. and it's a story so urgent and timely it opens your eyes in ways few might imagine. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1181.html Tue, 15 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Psalm 50:15

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Then, how many abuses and what horrible idolatry the invocation of saints has produced!

Pulling It Together

Whenever one wonders if a doctrine is true or false, look to the chief article. Does a teaching conflict with the first article? If so, then the doctrine is false. Christ alone helps sinners. The works of people—whether self or saints—is of no advantage. Indeed, they are a great disadvantage because they subvert the knowledge of and obscure the glory of Christ. Look to Christ alone; call upon him for help, for he is the one who delivers. Moreover, he is the only one whom glory is due.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for all your benefits in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1180.html Mon, 14 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 John 1:8–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Satisfactions gave rise to indulgences: pure lies, fabricated for the sake of profits.

Pulling It Together

Christians often sin; it is as natural as breathing. Yet, when Christians sin, they know it. The Holy Spirit makes them aware of their sin and the guilt of their unrighteousness. As there is no righteousness within us, save the Spirit of Christ, we cannot correct either the sin or the unrighteousness. We must turn to God in faith and ask forgiveness through the blood of Christ. It is the only way. We cannot pay for forgiveness or earn it; nor may we expect another to do so for us, as all are unrighteous. But if we simply ask God for forgiveness, he will forgive us of the sin and relieve us of the guilt, all on the basis of the shed blood of Christ, but never on the basis of our own merits.

Prayer: Forgive me, Father, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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Adversity is all around us. There is no getting around it. Sometimes we cause our own adversity; other times bad things just happen to us. No matter what it is that we are going through, we are never alone. There is someone who is always by our side through thick and thin. In Bumps and Bruises: Make It Through Alive, we talk about the problem that we have and the solution to that problem: Jesus Christ. We will also discuss some tips on how to get through adversity, and the tools that God gives us. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1179.html Sat, 12 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Corinthians 15:50–58

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Additionally, they have devised satisfactions by which they have also concealed the benefit of Christ.

Pulling It Together

What can we poor sinners do in the face of the malevolent leer of sin and death? The more we aim at purer piety, stricter law-keeping, faithful penance, and more and greater good works, the more assured we become that we can do nothing against our corruption. Unless we are self-deceived, we sense the foul breath of sin and death in each word, the horror of it in our thoughts, the crippling posture of our gaits in each step we take toward the grave. We are dying; indeed, we are dead. We are so utterly dead in our sins that a higher morality and finer religion will not bring us back to life—for we were never alive. We were born with this fatal disease. No priest or pastor can cure us. Better upbringing will not suffice, nor will harder work. We can do nothing to satisfy the hunger of death, and the killing corruption of sin.

Nevertheless, there is victory through faith in God. He alone has made the one satisfaction that removes the grip of death. He simply gives us this ultimate triumph over sin, death, and the judgment of the law. He is just in his doing so, because of Christ’s satisfaction of sin, death, and law. Moreover, we are justified through faith in Christ’s settlement of our sin—faith in him alone, not in our piety and good deeds. Because of this, we grin in the face of sin and death; we smile at the accusations of the law. Christ alone provides us this benefit, this assurance that not all is as it seems. In a moment, all will change. Thanks be to God.

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord God, that I fear, love, and trust you alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Check out Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Apostle’s Creed, designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1178.html Fri, 11 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 6:7–13

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

They have obscured the doctrine concerning sin, and have invented a tradition concerning the enumeration of offenses, producing many errors and despair.

Pulling It Together

We should not pray endlessly over our sins, thinking our devotion to naming each and every transgression is cause for God’s mercy. Instead, we must believe we are forgiven for Christ’s sake, not because of our religious zeal. So, pray like Jesus taught his disciples to pray: forgive my sin-debts. Period. No long list of offenses is offered—just a petition for forgiveness. Leaving it there requires faith in God where too often, there is only faith in religion. 

Prayer: Forgive me of all my sin, Father. Amen.

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Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1177.html Thu, 10 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 4:5–7

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

The doctrine of repentance has been entirely corrupted by the pope and his adherents, as they teach that sins are forgiven because of the value of our works. Then they try to make us doubt whether forgiveness happens. They do not teach anywhere that sins are forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, and that we obtain forgiveness of sins by this faith. As a result, they shroud the glory of Christ, deprive consciences of solid comfort, and abolish true worship, that is, the practice of faith wrestling with despair.

Pulling It Together

There is no hope for sinners who are denied true and complete faith in Christ. So long as they are cast back upon themselves, they are sunk—the lot of them. If their belief system calls them to an exercise of religious mathematics, it will never add up because they doubt the correct answer to the sum. Trying to add up their own goodness while subtracting their individual sins is futility and madness at once. The accumulation of a thousand lifetimes’ of good works and acts of religious devotion will never add up. Christ is the sum! Only Christ—never you—adds up to the value of your salvation. This righteous standing before God may only be apprehended with complete faith in Christ, never adding or subtracting a thing from Christ alone.

Prayer: I believe in you, Christ Jesus, for righteousness and salvation—not in my practice of religion. Amen.

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Joshua, Judges, & Ruth: Old Places, New Faces Series  The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. The Bible is not only intended to give the reader knowledge about events and people in the past, but through these events and people, to inspire greater faith.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1176.html Wed, 09 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Timothy 6:3–5

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

The idolatry in the profanation of the masses is clear, which, besides other faults, are brazenly applied for shameful profit.

Pulling It Together

Just as the grace of God is freely given, so is the means of grace. The Sacraments are not for hire. They are freely given, as need dictates. Sinners require a liberal provision of God’s grace. If anyone charges a fee for God’s free services, he is either deceived in his doctrine, or a religious extortionist.

Prayer: Thank you for your gifts of mercy, love, forgiveness, and peace through Christ Jesus. Amen.

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Mary, Martha & Many Faithful Women is a five-session VBS book designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations with a limited budget or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. This resource includes worksheets and handouts that may be reproduced, Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1175.html Tue, 08 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Luke 12:51–53

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

To dissent from the agreement of so many nations and to be called schismatics is a serious matter. But divine authority commands all to not be allies and defenders of impiety and unjust cruelty. Our consciences are sufficiently excused on this account, for the errors of the kingdom of the pope are obvious, and Scripture exclaims with its entire voice that these errors are the teaching of demons and of Antichrist.

Pulling It Together

The only peace that Christ came to bestow on this earth is the peace that is had through faith in him. Believe in Christ—in God’s salvation and forgiveness given only through such faith—and no matter who offends you or disagrees with your faith or its teachings, you will be at peace with the one person who makes a difference. That person is Christ himself, not the person who offers you false peace if only you believed his deceitful doctrine.

Prayer: Give me that peace, O Lord, that surpasses all comprehension. Amen.

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The Levi Project is a congregational guide that describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical step-by-step “how to” approach, provides guidance, organization, and ideas — not simply to promote a single program, but to develop and inspire the over-all outreach of the congregation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1174.html Mon, 07 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 7:21–23

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

This being the case, all Christians should beware of becoming participants in the godless doctrine, blasphemies, and unjust cruelty of the pope. For this reason they ought to leave and denounce the pope and his adherents as the kingdom of Antichrist, just as Christ has commanded, “Beware of false prophets” (Matt 7:15). Paul commands that godless teachers should be avoided and condemned as accursed, (Gal 1:8; Titus 3:10), and says, “Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what…fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14).

Pulling It Together

The principal part of Christian doctrine is that we have faith in God, believing that he loved the world so much that he sent his Son to save us, forgiving all sin, justifying sinners, and saving them to eternal life only through faith in Christ. Does any doctrine conflict with this main part? Run! Avoid its teachers and the places they teach. They will surely tell you that if you do not believe as they do and do the things they do that you will be condemned. But how can anyone condemn those whom the Father loves and for whom his Son died? Those who have faith in his love for them through Christ Jesus are the ones he knows, as it is God’s will that faith forms a relationship with him. Those who do religious services that conflict with faith in Christ alone are strangers to him. Avoid them, if you can.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to walk in the light of Christ. Amen.

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Portraits of Jesus is a nine-session Bible study that explores the "I AM" statements given to us by Jesus himself. In comparing Jesus' words with related Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, the study provides a well-rounded look at the center of our faith in Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1173.html Sat, 05 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Isaiah 14:12–14

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Furthermore, it is obvious, firstly, that the pope rules in the church, and has established this kingdom with the pretext of the authority of the church and the ministry, citing these words: “I will give you the keys” (Matt 16:19). Secondly, the doctrine of the pope conflicts in many ways with the gospel, and he feigns for himself divine authority in a threefold manner.

First, he presumes the right to change the doctrine of Christ and services instituted by God, and wants his own doctrine and his own services to be observed as divine. Second, he adopts for himself the power not only of binding and loosing in this life, but also the jurisdiction over souls beyond this life. Third, because the pope does not want to be judged by the church or by anyone, he puts his own authority above the decision of councils and the entire church. Being unwilling to be accountable to the church or to anyone else is to make oneself God. Lastly, he defends his horrible errors and impiety with the greatest cruelty, and puts dissenters to death.

Pulling It Together

Whether it be Sargon II, Satan, or anyone else, no one is God but God. He alone is the Most High. Climb the ranks of the kingdoms of earth or invent your own kingdom, small or large; still you are not God. How does one go about inventing such a religious kingdom but by keeping the trappings of the true and right while denying its power? The power of a kingdom is its king and his word. Any representative of the king who would pervert the king’s word no longer represents the king. He speaks for himself now. If you change the king’s words and ways, then you have propped yourself up as king over the king.

Prayer: My knee bows to you alone, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1172.html Fri, 04 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Thessalonians 2:3–5

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

Now, it is clear that the Roman pontiffs, with their adherents, defend godless doctrines and godless practices of worship, and that the marks of the Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the pope and his devotees. For Paul, in describing the Antichrist to the Thessalonians, calls him an adversary of Christ, “who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thes 2:4). He speaks therefore of one ruling in the church, not of worldly kings, and calls him adversarial to Christ because he will invent doctrine that opposes the gospel, and will claim for himself divine authority.

Pulling It Together

If one imagines that salvation comes in any other way than through faith in Christ, that one is an antichrist. If he proclaims that some deeds must be done, religious services performed, or anything be believed beyond that satisfaction who is Christ himself, then that person is opposed to Christ. None but Christ is the head of the church, even if—especially if—he claims to be Christ’s substitute on earth.

Prayer: I am your servant, Lord, yours alone. Amen.

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The Creator has revealed to us the Trinitarian nature of the name of God in “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” This six-week study explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain,” while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1171.html Thu, 03 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Galatians 1:6–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

This must be added in the third article: Even if the bishop of Rome had the primacy and superiority by divine right, obedience would nevertheless, not be due those pontiffs who defend godless services, idolatry, and doctrine conflicting with the Gospel. Rather, such pontiffs and such a government ought to be considered accursed, as Paul clearly teaches, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8). “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). The canons also similarly and clearly teach that a heretical pope is not to be obeyed. The Levitical high priest was the chief priest by divine right, yet godless high priests were not to be obeyed. Therefore, Jeremiah and other prophets dissented from the high priests. Likewise, the apostles dissented from Caiaphas and were not obligated to obey him.

Pulling It Together

The gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims that we are saved by God’s action—not by our own actions. A person may spend a lifetime going to church and doing good works, and actually be a truly decent neighbor, yet be hell bound. I recently visited a church that had a large certificate in the fellowship hall acclaiming a member’s 50 years of perfect Sunday School attendance. Now, I know this person, and she is fine Christian. Yet, she could have attended her church all those years only because she thought it culturally correct, or liked the music, or had friends and family there. A Christian, one who is in Christ or saved, goes to church because they have faith in Christ and love God. They do not go because they are duty-bound to a religious system that requires attendance or any other religious burden. God has already performed the duty in Christ, carrying the burden of a world’s sin; ours is a response of love and devotion; otherwise, it is pointless as regards salvation.

Prayer: Give me such faith as turns me daily to you, God. Amen.

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The Adventures of Martin Luther is a simple musical drama was written for youth to tell the story of Martin Luther's adventures, including his testimony before the Emperor at the Diet of Worms and what was happening in Wittenberg during Luther's exile at Wartburg Castle. It is being released by Sola Publishing as part of the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The script allows for many participants, using accessible language and easy-to-learn songs based on familiar hymn tunes. It serves as a fun and interesting way for young people to enter into the story of Martin Luther, acting out some key moments in his life. Costume and prop notes are included, to help those in charge of the production.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1170.html Wed, 02 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 6:33

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Since these enormous errors obscure faith and the kingdom of Christ, they must not be disregarded for any reason. The outcome of these errors shows that they have been great pestilences to the Church.

Pulling It Together

The Bible calls us to faith in Christ, to seek his kingdom and righteousness above all things. Anyone who puts himself over Christ or even beside him must be avoided. Salvation is missed if we follow another, for that is to have faith in that other when faith in Christ is required. Only his righteousness will do, that saving righteousness which is a gracious gift from God, only received by faith—not by doing things or following anyone but Christ alone.

Prayer: Help me, God, to live from faith to faith in Christ my Lord. Amen.

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The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experiencing Life Together is a 15-week house-church curriculum designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1169.html Sat, 29 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 1:16–17

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

So the pope not only usurped dominion, against Christ’s command, but also tyrannically exalted himself above all kings. In this matter, the deed itself is not to be criticized as much as it is to be detested, that he assigns the authority of Christ as his excuse. He transfers the keys to a worldly government, and binds salvation to these godless and appalling opinions, when he says it is necessary for salvation that people believe that this dominion belongs to him by divine right.

Pulling It Together

The saving power of the gospel begins with faith and ends with faith. There are no hoops in between. Complicated or even impossible (Acts 15:10) efforts, exercises, and rule following have no power to save. Indeed, they are generally distractions from the object of faith. These religious matters too often cause us to look at ourselves. Look at what a fine person I am! Or, I’m not good enough for God. But faith has us look to Christ. In Christ alone is the power of God at work for salvation. How does this happen in a human life? Faith alone. Salvation is available to everyone who believes the gospel—not to everyone who jumps through the correct religious hoops. That is why Paul says, “from faith to faith,” as salvation is a matter of faith in Christ, from start to finish.

Prayer: Help me believe in your righteousness credited to me through faith in Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Some of the best-known instances of Jesus' teaching come in what we know as his parables. Through these teaching-stories, Jesus describes the experience of faith in the kingdom of God. The Wise & The Foolish is a Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—or what might better be described as Discipleship Parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus.

This nine-session Bible study is intended for use by women's and men's groups, or for other small group fellowships gathering around the Word of God.

Click HERE to see the table of contents and a sample session of this study.

To view the Leader Guide click HERE.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1168.html Fri, 28 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 8:5

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Then the popes began to seize kingdoms for themselves. They transferred kingdoms. They troubled the kings of almost all European nations with unjust excommunications and wars, but especially the German emperors. Sometimes they did this for the purpose of occupying Italian cities, while at other times for the purpose of incapacitating German bishops, and forcing from emperors the right of appointing bishops. Indeed, it is even written in the Clementines, “When the empire is vacant, the pope is the legitimate successor.”

Pulling It Together

God rules the world with both left and right hands. The left-handed governance is the administrations of both state and church. If it has to do with the flesh, with property and daily life, it is likely the left hand at work in our lives. The right-handed rule of God is spiritual; it operates through faith alone. Generally, the left hand does not understand what the right hand is doing. As a result, the physical and earthly tries to dominate the spiritual and heavenly aspects of life. Nevertheless, human governments—whether civil or religious—have no divine right to make demands on the spirit, forcing people to believe one thing or another. Accordingly, the right hand has no business dictating law to the left hand, or seizing its property.

Prayer: Help me to keep the faith, Lord, and so, continue to live according to the Spirit. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Interactive PDF Certificates for Baptism, Rite of Confirmation, and First Communion. You get all three for one price. Simply download the files, choose the certificate you want to use, type in the name, date, and church information, then print on your color printer. Save files to your desktop and re-use over and over again. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1167.html Thu, 27 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 4:8–10

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 24

Accordingly, that Christ in his passion is crowned with thorns and led forth to be ridiculed in royal purple signified that in the future, after his spiritual kingdom was despised, that is, after the Gospel was suppressed, another kingdom of a worldly kind would be set up with the pretext of ecclesiastical power. Therefore the Constitution of Boniface VIII and the chapter Omnes, Distinction 22, and similar opinions which contend that the pope is ruler over the kingdoms of the world by divine right, are false and godless. This view has brought horrible darkness into the church, and afterward, great uproar in Europe. For the ministry of the Gospel was neglected. Knowledge of faith and the spiritual kingdom vanished. Christian righteousness was assumed to be that external government which the pope had established.

Pulling It Together

Christ has given a greater power to his church than crowns, robes, and scepters. He has conferred spiritual not political power. Why would he give his disciples something as fleeting and hopeless as politics and government? Are we able to trust in presidents, kings, and caesars? We cannot trust them any more than we may trust pastors, priests, and popes. One political party gives way to another, and people are disappointed and hopeless. A favorite pastor retires, the new one is just not the same, and going to church becomes a bit of a duty.

All of this ignores the real power bestowed by Christ Jesus. His is a spiritual power of the Word. He did not vanquish the devil with supernatural, physical, or political powers (Matt 4:1–11). He overcame him with what is written. Christ has given this same power to his church. Speak the “it is written” (Matt 4:10) and you speak with power, for you are now speaking the Word of God (Luke 10:16). There is no greater power available to the church.

Prayer: Give me a delight for your Word, Lord. Amen.

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Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1165.html Sat, 22 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 28:18–20

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

The second article is even clearer. Christ gave to the apostles only spiritual power, that is, the command to preach the Gospel, to proclaim the forgiveness of sins, to administer the Sacraments, to excommunicate the godless without bodily force. He did not give the power of the sword, or the right to establish, occupy or confer kingdoms of the world. For Christ says, “Go… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19–20). He also says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21). It is obvious that Christ was not sent to bear the sword or rule a worldly kingdom, as he himself says, “My kingship is not of this world” (John 18:36). Paul also says, “Not that we lord it over your faith” (2 Cor 1:24), and, “the weapons of our warfare are not worldly” (2 Cor 10:4).

Pulling It Together

The occupation of the disciple of Christ is one of going. The follower of Christ is always moving out, for Christ is always doing so. If the disciple is following Jesus, she is naturally going. This does not mean she is out for a stroll, a nice walk through the neighborhood for some exercise. The going of a disciple is response to a command; and that command is not aimless. Since we are sent as Christ was sent, the follower of Jesus goes to announce the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14). We do so, not by force, worldly power, or even church laws, but by Word and Sacrament. “Go…baptizing…teaching…” As we do, Christ is always with us.

Prayer: Here am I, Lord; send me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Liturgical calendar charts the Scripture readings for each Sunday in the Church Year, with each Sunday printed in the proper liturgical color for easy reference. Sola Publishing recommends the use of the Revised Common Lectionary as found in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) published by Concordia Publishing House, and makes use of this lectionary in its own Sola Online Worship eResource (SOWeR) website.

You may download a free color PDF file of the 2018-2019 Year C calendar HERE. Sola grants permission to reproduce this calendar for local use.

As a convenience, or for those who may not have access to a color printer, hard copies of the Sola Liturgical Calendar may be ordered from Sola for $1.00 each, They are printed on glossy car stock in full-color.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1164.html Fri, 21 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Timothy 4:1–2

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

As to where it is said, “Feed my lambs,” and “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15), it does not follow that a particular superiority was given Peter. Christ bids Peter to “feed,” that is, teach the Word, or oversee the church with the Word, a call that Peter has in common with the other apostles.

Pulling It Together

All shepherds of the flock, each one a pastor of the gospel and bishop or overseer of their congregations, are commissioned with the charge to preach the Word. All pastors are ordained to the office of Word and Sacrament. The responsibility is the sacred trust of all, not one. Each is to feed the sheep, no matter the depth of feeling for Christ. It is the call, not the emotion, at play here. That is why pastors are to preach in season and out, when they feel like it and when they do not, whether they sense that they are in charge or that things are out of control. After all, they are not in charge; Christ is the head of the church.  

Prayer: Give us pastors, Lord, who preach your Word in season and out of season. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1163.html Thu, 20 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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James 1:21

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Furthermore, the ministry of the New Testament is not bound to places and persons like the Levitical priesthood is, but is broadcast throughout the whole world. It exists where God gives his gifts, apostles, prophets, pastors, and teachers. Nor is this ministry sound because of the authority of any person, but because of the Word given by Christ.

This is how most of the holy Fathers (such as Origen, Cyprian, Augustine, Hilary, and Bede) interpret the phrase, “on this rock”—not as referring to the person of Peter. Chrysostom says “on this rock,” not “on Peter,” because Christ built his church not on the man, but on the faith of Peter. But what was his faith other than, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”? Hilary says, “The Father revealed to Peter that he should say, ‘You are the Son of the living God.’ Therefore the church is built on this rock of confession; this faith is the foundation of the church.”

Pulling It Together

Churches would be better off if they focused on the Word in the pews, rather than the person in the pulpit. The one doing the teaching adds nothing to the Word or the office. The one preaching and teaching does not make the difference. The Holy Spirit at work in the Word is what matters. So, as the power does not lie in the preacher in the pulpit, neither does it reside in one who would be over all preachers—unless that one is Christ.

What matters is that the Word is preached and that there are hearts who hear and believe that Word. Let us cling to the Word of God, to Christ. It is our good confession of faith in him that matters, that saves souls.

Prayer: Help my focus go beyond the pulpit, Lord, to the Word that is preached. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of four books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1162.html Wed, 19 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Corinthians 1:21b–24

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

As to the declaration, “Upon this rock I will build my church,” the church has certainly not been built upon the authority of man, but upon the ministry of the confession that Peter made, in which he proclaims that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God.” Accordingly, Christ addresses Peter as a minister: “Upon this rock,” that is, on this ministry.

Pulling It Together

Peter is addressed as a minister of the office in which this confession functions. The rock that the church is built upon is the preaching of Christ and other ministries that confess Jesus as the Son of God. This is not to elevate the office of the ministry in and of itself. The point of the office is that it lifts up Christ. The Holy Spirit uses the good confession of all Christians to build Christ’s church. We see this in evidence in worship when the whole assembly confesses that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt 16:16). This is the principal ministry of the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet 2:5).

Prayer: Help me to confess your name, Christ Jesus, in church and neighborhood. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1161.html Tue, 18 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 18:15–20

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

Additionally, it is necessary to acknowledge that the keys do not belong to the person of one particular man, but to the whole Church. This is clear from the testimony of many firm arguments. Christ, spoke about the keys saying, “If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matt 18:19). Therefore, he grants the keys principally and immediately to the Church. The Church, for this same reason, has the primary right of calling ministers. In these passages, we must view Peter as the representative of the entire company of apostles. For this reason, they do not confer to Peter any prerogative, primacy, or power.

Pulling It Together

Let us reason forward from Scripture, instead of proof-texting. Deciding the way things should be, then bending a verse to fit the invention does violence to God’s Word. Yet, his Word is safe from such cruel hands.

Read in context. See what is really happening in a whole unit of the story. At least read a few verses before and after a cited verse. In this case, just following the very verse used to demonstrate that one person is to rule everyone, Jesus declares that a thing is binding by the agreement of two or three people—not by one representative of the whole Church. This is why the Keys, vocation, and ultimately, even discipline, are the responsibility of the whole Church, as Jesus clearly says, “tell it to the church.” The reason for this is also clear if one reads on to the next verse. Jesus is present in the company of two or three who assemble in his name.

Prayer: Help me listen, Lord, to you and to my brothers and sisters of faith. Amen.

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How to be a Disciple is a six-part series of dramas featuring the first twelve disciples, each exploring a piece of the discipleship puzzle. The disciples are placed in a light-hearted contemporary setting, helping listeners to get a sense for the down-to-earth interplay between personalities. The progression of the series is meant to provide the larger picture of what discipleship means. (Two to five characters per drama.)

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1160.html Mon, 17 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 18:18–19

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

In all these passages, Peter is the representative of the entire assembly of apostles, which is evident in the text itself. Christ does not ask Peter alone, but says, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15). What is said here in the singular number—“I will give you the keys,” and “whatever you bind,” etc.—is expressed elsewhere in the plural (Matt 18:18–19). It is also written, “If you forgive the sins of any” (John 20:23). These words show that the keys are equally given to all the apostles and that all the apostles are equally sent forth.

Pulling It Together

The English language lacks the nuance of singular and plural voices when it comes to the word “you.” One must determine from context, or as in this case, look at the original (Greek) language to determine how many people Jesus is speaking to when he says “you.” In Matthew 16:18–19, Jesus is speaking to a singular “you,” who is Peter. In Matthew 18:18–19, he gives the same message to a plural “you,” who are all of the disciples. Christ gave the keys, as is clear in Scripture, to all of his disciples—not to Peter alone. 

Prayer: Help your whole Church, Holy Spirit, to confess Jesus as the Christ. Amen.

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Developed and used by Pastor Fred Baltz in his church in Galena, Illinois, the LEVI Project Guide is a congregational resource book describing how a parish can host an “invite-able” event. Using a practical, step-by-step “how to” approach, this book provides guidance, organization, and ideas, not simply to promote a single program of outreach, but to develop and inspire the overall outreach efforts of the congregation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1159.html Sat, 15 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 16:13–18

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

They cite certain passages against us, namely, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (Matt 16:18). Also, “I will give you the keys” (Matt 16:19), “Feed My sheep” (John 21:15), and some others. Because this entire controversy has been fully and accurately dealt with elsewhere in our theologians’ books, and since everything cannot be reexamined in this place, we refer to those writings, and wish them to be regarded as restated. Yet we will briefly reply concerning the interpretation.

Pulling It Together

Before considering Melancthon’s brief reply, allow me to repeat my earlier assertion. It is upon the bedrock confession of Peter that Christ builds his Church. God does not build the Church upon a man, but upon Christ Jesus, upon the faith that confesses, “You are the Christ!” This interpretation is clear in the context of the passage, as Jesus says, “upon this rock.” He does not say, upon you. What does “this” refer back to in the passage but the good confession? That is the rock that Christ will build his Church upon—whether it be Peter’s good confession or yours.

Prayer: You are the Christ, Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God. Amen.

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Telling Their Stories: Encounters with Jesus is seven dramatic monologues that focus on the cross. Each is written from the perspective of a biblical character who participated in the Passion of our Lord. The resource is meant to be used as a Lenten monologue series or as character readings for a group study.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1158.html Fri, 14 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Corinthians 11:2–3

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

XI. Finally, how can the pope be over the entire Church by divine right if the Church elects him, and the custom gradually prevailed that bishops of Rome were confirmed by the emperors? Also, for a long time there had been disagreements concerning the primacy between the bishops of Rome and Constantinople. Emperor Phocas finally decided that the primacy should be assigned to the bishop of Rome. If the ancient Church had acknowledged the primacy of the Roman pontiff, this conflict would not have occurred, nor would there have been the need of an emperor’s decree.

Pulling It Together

The traditions about authority that have been handed down to us by the apostles are clear and simple. They teach us that as the Son obeyed the Father’s will, every man is to obey Christ’s will, and every wife be inclined to her husband. Nowhere in the biblical and apostolic traditions is there to be a bishop who rules over other bishops. This is a human construct.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, submit to the will of Christ my Lord. Amen.

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Got a Question? is a devotional book by Pastor Chris Brekke that bases each devotional on a simple question — eighty in all — including Life questions, God questions, and Faith questions. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1157.html Thu, 13 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Galatians 3:26–28

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

X. Gregory, writing to the patriarch at Alexandria, forbids that he be called universal bishop. And in the records he says that he did not accept the primacy offered to the bishop of Rome at the Council of Chalcedon.

Pulling It Together

If we are all one in Christ, how can there be one over all? This is a human invention; primacy is not God’s way, for he is the head over all. There may be area bishops, and pastors of congregations, and teachers, and evangelists, and even presidents of Church Councils (Eph 4:11), but Scripture does not teach that one should be over us all.

Prayer: Help me be true to my calling, Lord, and build up the Body of Christ. Amen.

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Most Certainly True contains 75 stories of Lutherans throughout the world, during many eras, in various locations, revealing much about the Lutheran church. At their core, the stories explore the heart of the church and its people at work and reveal something of the ordinary and unique lives that have shaped Christ's church. God is at work through us and in spite of us: the communion of saints.

 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1156.html Wed, 12 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Peter 2:9–10

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

IX. Jerome says, “If the question concerns authority, the world is greater than the city. Wherever there has been a bishop, whether at Rome, or Eugubium, or Constantinople, or Rhegium, or Alexandria, he is of equal dignity and priesthood.”

Pulling It Together

Kingdoms divide and fall under the squabbling of a king’s children. Their infighting and scrabbling for power ruins a nation. Let us look to our King, and be content with his primacy and power. For he cares for all his children, all those who are baptized and adopted into the royal family (Gal 3:26–29). We are a kingdom of equal priests by virtue of him who called us into his light. Nowhere does Scripture say that one priest is to be over another.

Prayer: You are my Father, Lord God, in whom I place all my hope and trust. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1155.html Tue, 11 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Timothy 6:15b–16

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope – part 13

VIII. Many ancient synods were called and held, in which the bishop of Rome did not preside, such as Nicea and most others. This also demonstrates that the Church did not acknowledge the primacy or superiority of the bishop of Rome at that time.

Pulling It Together

Who ruled the Church in the time of the apostles? Peter? James? Paul? You would be hard-pressed to decide by reading the Scriptures. That is for good reason; none of them was superior to the other. That would have been a contradiction of the Lord’s teaching. Ministers of the gospel are called to serve. There must not be dominion of one over another in the Church (Matt 20:12). If it looks like someone is on a throne, matters have gone very wrong. Christ alone is our Sovereign; to him belongs all honor and dominion, all primacy and power.

Prayer: You are my only Sovereign, Lord. Amen.

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By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. It is about the end of traditional Christianity as practiced in modern times—not a futuristic end, but an end already accomplished, or partially accomplished, in a majority of countries, cities, and churches. Strange as it seems, many Christians haven't noticed. But others were so concerned they've gathered in these pages the wisdom of alert pastors, theologians, laity, young seminarians, and evangelicals. They all have a story to tell you in their own voices. and it's a story so urgent and timely it opens your eyes in ways few might imagine. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1154.html Mon, 10 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Hebrews 10:19–25

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Such superiority is impossible. For it is not possible for one bishop to be the overseer of all the churches of the world, or for churches situated in distant lands to seek ordination from one. For it is obvious that the kingdom of Christ is scattered throughout the whole world, and that today there are many churches in the East which do not seek ordination or confirmation through the Roman bishop. Since such superiority is impossible, and the churches in the greater part of the world have not acknowledged it, it is sufficiently apparent that it was not instituted.

Pulling It Together

There is the Church of Christ: those who make the good confession, who stir up love and good works in one another, and who meet together in Christ’s name until he returns. They have Jesus as their great priest; otherwise, they could not confidently draw near to God in faith. Without Christ at the heart and head of the Church, it is merely a human institution, looking for spiritual solutions through social, moral, and religious works. There is no sure hope in that place. The only hope that is both reasonable and sustainable is the hope of faith: faith in Christ, not faith in self or in someone else, but in Christ alone. There is the holy, catholic Church.

Prayer: Thank you for the full assurance you have given, God, through faith in Christ my Lord. Amen.

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The English Standard Version Pew Bible containing the Old and New Testament is an affordable durable Bible, designed for regular church use. Hardcover black with black print.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1153.html Sat, 08 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Peter 5:1–3

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Cyprian calls this custom a divine tradition and an apostolic observance, and affirms its observance in almost all the provinces. Therefore, since, neither ordination nor confirmation was sought from a bishop of Rome in the greater part of the world, whether by Latin or Greek churches, it is amply clear that the churches did not grant superiority and control to the bishop of Rome at that time.

Pulling It Together

Whether or not we can trust Cyprian’s knowledge of traditions and observances of such distant memory is one thing. After all, he lived in the first half of the third Century. Perhaps this is the way they chose bishops in apostolic times, but probably not (Acts 14:21–23; Titus 1:5). The Didache, what most scholars now believe to be a first century manual of Christian practice, declares, “Therefore, choose for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord…” (Didache 15:1). At some time in the first century, it appears churches were choosing their bishops.

In addition, we know what the Reformers wanted: bishops who were equals. Furthermore, we know what Scripture teaches: that they are to exercise no command or supremacy over the flock entrusted to their care.

Prayer: Give us humble leaders, Lord. Amen.

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We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1152.html Fri, 07 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Jeremiah 3:15

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

VII. Again, the Council of Nicea decided that bishops should be elected by their own churches, in the presence of one or more neighboring bishops. This was the practice in the West also and in the Latin churches, as Cyprian and Augustine testify. Cyprian says in his fourth letter to Cornelius: “Accordingly, regarding the divine observance and apostolic practice, you must diligently keep and practice what is also observed among us and in almost all the provinces. For celebrating ordination properly, whatever bishops of the same province live nearest should come together with the people for whom a shepherd is being appointed. The bishop should be chosen in the presence of the people, who most fully know the life of each one, which we also have seen done among us at the ordination of our colleague Sabinus. By all the brethren having the right to vote, and by the judgment of the bishops who had assembled in their presence, the episcopate was conferred and hands laid on him.”

Pulling It Together

It has long been the practice that churches should be the ones who decide who their bishops will be. Appointments of bishops by a bishop or committee begins the slippery slope to the primacy of one. This is why the Reformation leaders desired the diligence Cyprian advised. The episcopate is a matter of God’s calling, and the peoples’ choice of a regional bishop who has been properly examined by the already established leadership.

Prayer: Give shepherds to your Church, Lord, who are faithful to you. Amen.

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The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1151.html Thu, 06 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 16:15–18

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

VI. The Council of Nicea resolved that the bishop of Alexandria should administer the churches in the East, and the bishop of Rome should administer the suburban churches, those that were in the Roman provinces in the West. The authority of the Roman bishop originally came from a resolution of the Council, by human directive. If the Roman bishop already had superiority by divine law, it would have been unlawful for the Council to take any right from him and transfer it to the bishop of Alexandria. Rather, all the bishops in the East should have perpetually sought ordination and confirmation from the bishop of Rome.

Pulling It Together

It cannot be historically demonstrated that the Roman bishop should rule over all the churches. A wider-spread authority was conferred in the fourth century. Yet, even then, the Western bishop’s administration was shared with the Eastern bishop. Nor can it be biblically established that there is to be one head over the whole Church—other than Christ (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18). The passage resorted to (Matt 16:15–18) is often misunderstood, or purposely twisted. Christ never intended to build his Church on the Apostle Peter. He has erected his Church on the bedrock confession of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16). So, let us always seek ordination, confirmation, and all else from the primacy of the Word and Spirit of Christ, the ever-living Head of the Church on earth.

Prayer: Word of God, speak so that your whole Church may clearly comprehend your preeminent rule. Amen.

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1150.html Wed, 05 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Corinthians 3:4–9

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

V. Paul makes ministers equal (1 Cor 3:6), and teaches that the Church is above her ministers. Therefore, he does not ascribe to Peter superiority or lordship over the Church or the rest of the ministers. For he says, “all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas” (1 Cor 3:21–22). So, neither Peter nor other ministers should assume for themselves lordship or superiority over the Church. Let them not burden the Church with traditions. Do not allow the authority of any be greater than the Word, nor the authority of Cephas stronger than that of the other apostles. However, they reasoned at that time: “Cephas, who is an apostle of higher rank, observes this. Therefore, both Paul and the rest ought to observe this.” Paul removes this pretext from Peter, and denies that his authority is to be preferred to the rest or to the Church.

Pulling It Together

Peter himself, with a pastoral application, removed any justification for primacy of one pastor or bishop over another, when he teaches ministers of the church to be a godly example instead of a domineering master (1 Pet 5:3). Paul, with a theological method, does the same. He teaches that he and Apollos, and by extension other ministers of the Gospel, were a single unit. They were used by God: he who is the real authority.

Prayer: Make me a servant, Lord. Amen.

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The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study is presented in a discussion formation with assigned readings from the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Included in the study is a shorter work by Philip Melanchton called "The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope." 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1149.html Tue, 04 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Galatians 1:15–24

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

IV. Paul distinctly emphasizes that he was neither ordained nor confirmed by Peter, nor does he acknowledge Peter as one from whom confirmation should be sought (Gal 2:7f). He specifically maintains that his call does not depend upon the authority of Peter, though he ought to have acknowledged Peter as a superior if Peter was superior by divine right. Accordingly, Paul says that he had immediately preached the Gospel without consulting Peter. He also declares: “And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) —those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me” (Gal 2:6). Paul clearly testifies that he did not seek Peter’s permission to preach—even when he had come to meet him. Therefore, he teaches that the authority of the ministry depends upon the Word of God, that Peter was not superior to the other apostles, and that ordination or confirmation was not to be sought from this one person, Peter, alone.

Pulling It Together

The office of the ministry depends upon the Word of God, not those who would rule over those called to preach. Those who seek to watch over the church (1 Tim 3:1) should first be concerned with looking after themselves (1 Tim 3:2–7). In this way, they should have learned through humility to not lord their office over others—those whom God himself has called to ministry. A bishop did not call that pastor; the Spirit of God called her. A committee did not call that preacher to the ministry; Christ called him. This call therefore, must come through the Word, though afterwards, it may be endorsed by association, denomination, congregation, or council. No matter, if it does not. The Word of God will go forth without endorsement through those whom he calls. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for those you have called, who have spoken the Word to my life. Amen.

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The enigmatic Disciple Jesus Loved has long intrigued readers of the Gospel of John. Why did he withold his name? Did he leave clues in the Gospel to his identity? Does it matter? New Testament reasearchers have explored these questions with renewed energy. Unlike other books, "The Mystery of the Beloved Disciple" moves beyond their simple first names to find Lazarus, Martha and Mary in sources outside the Bible, and the Beloved Disciple in the Talmud! Discovering who these people actually were informs our reading of the Gospel of John in powerful ways. The truth presented in The Mystery of the Beloved Disciple; New Evidence, Compete Answer will prove irrefutable.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1148.html Mon, 03 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 1:16

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

III. John 20:21 records Christ sending out his disciples as equals, without any distinction. When he says, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you,” he declares that he sends his disciples individually, in the same way he had been sent. Therefore, he grants no one primacy or lordship over the rest.

Pulling It Together

No Christian is to have power over others, let alone more or less power. As the Word was sent into the world, we are sent into the world with the Word. The Word is the power of ordination—not the office. A pastor or bishop is powerless without the Word, despite the office.

Prayer: Here I am, Lord; send me. Amen.

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Not everyone likes bread sticks. They are fine for appetizers, but it's nice to have some selection. Add in some onion rings, BBQ wings, cheese curds, veggies...and then you've got something! Faith Appetizers is a sampler platter of Biblical Christianity. With an assortment of styles and topics, offering both a challenge and a chuckle, it intends to awaken your days with faith. These 286 devotions are arranged Biblically, from Genesis to Revelation. Like the good God behind our good book, they will work both the mind and heart, sometimes comforting the afflicted and sometimes afflicting the comfortable. Open up and taste one; then pass 'em around.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1144.html Sat, 01 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 18:1–4

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

II. Jesus teaches the same thing in a parable because of a similar dispute about the kingdom. Christ placed a little child in their midst (Matt 18:2), demonstrating that as a child neither takes nor seeks preeminence, there is to be no superiority among ministers.

Pulling It Together

There are orders in the Church of Christ, but not levels of superiority. A pastor who will not listen is a pastor to whom no one will listen. A bishop who lords the office over others will displease the Lord. On the other hand, Christians who serve others may discover God calling them to greater responsibilities. Any office in the Church is always an office of service—not primacy. The greatest among us must be a servant (Matt 23:11).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, make me of some use in your kingdom. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1143.html Fri, 30 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 28:18–20

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

I. In Luke 22:25, Christ expressly prohibits lordship among the apostles. This was the very question the disciples were disputing when Christ spoke of His passion: who should be their leader and, as it were, the vicar of the departed Christ. Christ rebuked this error and taught the apostles that there should not be lordship or superiority among them, but that the apostles should be sent forth as equals in the common ministry of the Gospel. Accordingly, he said, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” (Luke 22:25–26). The antithesis here shows that lordship is not permitted.

Pulling It Together

This is not to say that Christianity is supposed to me some form of democracy. It is not, for we do have a supreme leader, a head over us all. Christ is far above all names throughout time and even in the age to come (Eph 1:21). He is the head of the Church, both now and forever. He needs and desires no vicarious substitute in his supposed absence, for he is not gone (Matt 28:20). Let us serve under his rule, as though he were in our midst—as he surely is.

Prayer: Help me live under your authority, Lord, and therefore bear witness to you in my vocation, that place where you have sent me into the world. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In Saints I Have Known and Buried, Christopher Miller offers a rich resource of materials to help families navigate this difficult time by helping them create meaningful tributes to honor their loved ones' rich legacies and to name their precious memories. Filled with sample eulogies, sermons, and prayers, this unique resource enables families to further their own healing by developing an effective and meaningful tribute that recognizes their loved ones' special qualities and virtues.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1142.html Thu, 29 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Psalm 119:105

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Therefore, let us primarily show from the Gospel that the Roman bishop is not by divine right above other bishops and pastors.

Pulling It Together

If we wish to demonstrate that the pope—or anyone else, for that matter—cannot claim rule and power whatsoever over bishops, pastors, or laity either, then we had better have some authority behind our statement. There is no authority greater than divine authority. Lutherans regard the Holy Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, as being the very word of God. Scriptures carry the full weight of God’s authority, requiring our trust and acceptance. We walk in darkness without it; as it is breathed out by God himself (2 Tim 3:16), it is the supreme rule over all of life. Everything else—all books, traditions, and teachings—are subordinate. This is the substance behind that famous saying of the Lutheran Reformation: sola Scriptura. 

Prayer: Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, to the light of your Word. Amen.

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The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes a hundreds of selections of music for use in worship, drawing primarily upon texts and music in the public domain, along with biblical texts set to familiar tunes. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1141.html Wed, 28 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Luke 22:24–27

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Now, in order that our case may be understood, we will first define what they mean by saying the pope is above all bishops by divine right. They mean that he is universal, or as they say, an ecumenical bishop. In other words, all bishops and pastors throughout the world should seek ordination and confirmation from him, who they say has the right of electing, ordaining, confirming, and deposing all bishops. Besides this, he claims the authority to make laws concerning acts of worship, changing the Sacraments, and doctrine. He wants his articles, decrees, and laws considered equal to divine laws, so binding consciences that those who neglect his laws, even without public offense, sin mortally. Still more horrible, he asserts that it is necessary to believe all these things in order to be saved.

Pulling It Together

It is bad enough that one Christian would claim to rule over others, since there are teachings of Jesus that say otherwise (Matt 20:16; 23:11; Luke 9:46–48; 22:24–27), let alone the example of his own servant leadership. What is worse is that such a person would claim such divine privilege that anyone who would dare to disagree with his declarations and demands, though they go against Scripture, is damned. May we be bound to no person. Let us instead, be bound to the Word of God.

Prayer: Make me of service to your Church, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1140.html Tue, 27 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Acts 4:12

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

First, the bishop of Rome claims that he is, by divine right, over all bishops and pastors. He adds secondly, that by divine right he has both swords, that is, the authority of bestowing kingdoms. Thirdly, he declares that believing this is necessary for salvation. For these reasons, the Roman bishop calls himself the vicar of Christ on earth. We hold these three articles to be false, godless, tyrannical, and destructive to the Church.

Pulling It Together

Theologians gathered at Smalcald in 1537, to construct their response to the pope’s convening of a council. This paper, “The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope,” is the result of their gathering. If you looked carefully at the names of those who subscribed to The Smalcald Articles, you may have noticed that Melanchthon was vacillating on the first point of this treatise. These theologians did not waver. The pope was afforded no such authority over the pastors and preachers of the Reformation, let alone conceded rule over both Church and State. Still, it was the third point that would have made their theological skin truly crawl.

 There is only one name under heaven by which people are saved to eternal life: Christ alone. It is no wonder solus Christus was a primary doctrine of the Reformation. Christ alone died for our sins and raised us from the dead. We are forgiven and saved from death and the devil by Christ alone (solo Christo). He alone is the way to the Father (John 14:6). Believe in him and no other. Any other belief, any other teaching, is heresy of the worst kind.

Prayer: I believe in your Son, Father, who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, forever one God. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes preformatted liturgies, inserts, and orders of worship for regular and occasional services, copy-ready for duplication. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1139.html Mon, 26 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Thessalonians 2:13–15

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Lastly, there remains the pope’s bag of tricks that contains foolish and childish articles, such as the sanctification of churches, the baptism of bells, the baptism of altar stones, and inviting sponsors to these rites who would make donations towards them. Such baptizing is a reproach and mockery of Holy Baptism, so it should not be tolerated. Additionally, there are the blessings of candles, palm branches, cakes, oats, spices, etc. These cannot be considered consecrations, but are sheer mockery and fraud. We commend these numberless deceptions for adoration to their god and to themselves until they are weary of them. We will have nothing to do with them.

Pulling It Together

The Word of God united with faith makes things holy. Human rituals, especially when devised to make money, have nothing to do with consecration. Baptism, for example, was instituted by God to join us to Christ’s death and resurrection, and is to be received by faith in God’s promises. Other washings are not merely lesser, they hold no significance at all and are a parody of God’s intentions. They remove the focus from what God does, to what people do. Let us be content with what God has ordained and subscribe to his Word alone.

What follows are the names of all those who subscribed to Martin Luther’s Smalcald Articles, keeping to the Reformation teaching of Sola Scriptura: that the Holy Scriptures are the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice.

1. Dr. Martin Luther subscribed.
2. Dr. Justus Jonas, Rector, subscribed with his own hand.
3. Dr. John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, subscribed.
4. Dr. Caspar Creutziger subscribed.
5. Niclas Ambsdorf of Magdeburg subscribed.
6. George Spalatin of Altenburg subscribed.
7. I, Philip Melanchthon, also regard the above articles as right and Christian. But regarding the pope I hold that, if he would allow the Gospel, his superiority over the bishops which he has otherwise, is conceded to him by human right also by us, for the sake of peace and general unity of those Christians who are also under him, and may be under him hereafter.
8. John Agricola of Eisleben subscribed.
9. Gabriel Didymus subscribed.
10. I, Dr. Urban Rhegius, Superintendent of the churches in the Duchy of Lueneburg, subscribe in my own name and in the name of my brethren, and of the Church of Hannover.
11. I, Stephen Agricola, Minister at Hof, subscribe.
12. Also I, John Draconites, Professor and Minister at Marburg, subscribe.
13. I, Conrad Figenbotz, for the glory of God subscribe that I have thus believed, and am still preaching and firmly believing as above.
14. I, Andrew Osiander of Nuernberg, subscribe.
15. I, Magister Veit Dieterich, Minister at Nuernberg, subscribe.
16. I, Erhard Schnepf, Preacher at Stuttgart, subscribe.
17. Conrad Oetinger, Preacher of Duke Ulrich at Pforzheim.
18. Simon Schnevveis, Pastor of the Church at Crailsheim.
19. I, John Schlainhauffen, Pastor of the Church at Koethen, subscribe.
20. The Reverend Magister George Helt of Forchheim.
21. The Reverend Magister Adam of Fulda, Preacher in Hesse.
22. The Reverend Magister Anthony Corvinus, Preacher in Hesse.
23. I, Doctor John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, again subscribe in the name of Magister John Brentz, as on departing from Smalcald he directed me orally and by a letter, which I have shown to those brethren who have subscribed.
24. I, Dionysius Melander, subscribe to the Confession, the Apology, and the Concordia on the subject of the Eucharist.
25. Paul Rhodius, Superintendent of Stettin.
26. Gerard Oeniken, Superintendent of the Church at Minden.
27. I, Brixius Northanus, Minister of the Church of Christ which is at Soest, subscribe to the Articles of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, and confess that hitherto I have thus believed and taught, and by the Spirit of Christ I shall continue thus to believe and teach.
28. Michael Coelius, Preacher at Mansfeld, subscribed.
29. The Reverend Magister Peter Geltner, Preacher at Frankfort, subscribed.
30. Wendal Faber, Pastor of Seeburg in Mansfeld.
31. I, John Aepinus, subscribe.
32. Likewise, I, John Amsterdam of Bremen.
33. I, Frederick Myconius, Pastor of the Church at Gotha in Thuringia, subscribe in my own name and in that of Justus Menius of Eisenach
34. I, Doctor John Lang, Preacher of the Church at Erfurt, subscribe with my own hand in my own name, and in that of my other coworkers in the Gospel, namely:
35. The Reverend Licentiate Ludwig Platz of Melsungen.
36. The Reverend Magister Sigismund Kirchner.
37. The Reverend Wolfgang Kismetter.
38. The Reverend Melchior Weitmann.
39. The Reverend John Tall.
40. The Reverend John Kilian.
41. The Reverend Nicholas Faber.
42. The Reverend Andrew Menser.
43. And I, Egidius Mechler, have subscribed with my own hand.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for the gift of your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, worship planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1138.html Sat, 24 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Timothy 1:18–19

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

These are the articles on which I must and will stand, God willing, until my death. I do not know how to change or to concede anything in them. If anyone wants to compromise anything, it will be done at the peril of conscience.

Pulling It Together

Rely on the Word of God. Human traditions will compromise Scripture and cause you to stumble in your conscience. Worse, they will leave you with a sense of angst, wondering if you have done enough to warrant God’s reward. Take your stand on his word instead of your works. By doing so, you will arrive at the far shores of heaven by the swelling sail of Christ, instead of shipwrecked under your own power.

Prayer: Help me to stand with you, Lord Jesus, no matter the pitch of life. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Upper Room is a six-part drama and sermon series for use during the weeks of Lent, in midweek or Sunday morning services. The stories in this series seek to focus our hearts and minds on the last days of Jesus, drawing us into a greater spiritual maturity that recognizes the blessings and responsibilities of this life of faith, as we walk with our Lord on the path to the cross.

Scripture texts are assigned for each of the weeks, along with a brief sermon reflection based on the theme. A sample order of service is provided.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1137.html Fri, 23 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Titus 1:13–16

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article XV. Concerning Human Traditions.

The papist declaration that human traditions achieve the forgiveness of sins or earn salvation is unchristian and condemned. Christ says, “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt 15:9). Again, Titus 1:14: “men…who reject the truth.” So, when they proclaim that it is a mortal sin if one breaks these ordinances, this is also false.

Pulling It Together

If a ceremony or regulation denies the work of Christ, God’s grace, or his plan of redemption, then it is untrue, or to use a stronger term, heresy. If it is claimed that any religious tradition attains to the remission of sins—in whole or in part—it is heresy. For only Christ has accomplished this for us; it is given freely to all who hold to him in faith. If anyone insists that you not keeping their rules makes you a sinner, smile, and answer that you are indeed a sinner, a sinner whom Christ died for and saved to everlasting life, despite their rules and traditions.

Prayer: Help me to know you through your works, Lord Jesus, not mine. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In Part 2 of Sola Scriptura, "The Norm of Faith" study shows how an active view of the Word informs and guides our understanding of what Scripture says. In other words, it will talk about what the Bible means based on what it does. In terms of how we come to articulate our faith and our doctrinal teachings, to speak of Scripture as the "norm" of faith means that it is the standard against which our theology and proclamation are measured.

• Study Guide   • See also Sola Scriptura, Part 1: The Source of Faith

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1136.html Thu, 22 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Matthew 24:4–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article XIV. Concerning Monastic Vows.

Since monastic vows directly conflict with the first, chief article, they must be altogether abolished. It is they of whom Christ says, “I am the Christ,” etc (Matt 24:5, 23). He who makes a vow to live as a monk believes that he is entering a way of life that is holier than led by ordinary Christians. He aspires to earn heaven by his own works, not only for himself, but also for others. This denies Christ. They boast from their St. Thomas that a monastic vow is equal to Baptism. This is blasphemy.

Pulling It Together

Imagining that one’s deeds earn heaven is bad enough. The notion that one’s good deeds are more than enough for self, and that the overflow may be shared with others so that they gain heaven is blasphemous. This kind of Christ complex obscures and denies the saving work of Christ. If the good works of monks may spill over into your life and pack you off to heaven, who needs Jesus? More to the point, if anyone is able to obtain eternal life by his good works, then again, who needs Jesus? Be sure of it: a monk is not Christ; he cannot save you any more than he is able to save himself. Only Christ Jesus saves us to eternal life. This is the free gift of God (Rom 6:23) for all those who believe (John 3:16).

Prayer: I lift up the cup of salvation, O Lord, and give you thanks. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1135.html Wed, 21 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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James 2:14–17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Good works result from this faith, renewal, and forgiveness of sins. Whatever is still sinful or imperfect in these works will not be regarded as sin or imperfection, for Christ’s sake. The whole person, in respect to both deeds and being, is considered righteous and holy through the pure grace and mercy poured out upon and covering us in Christ. Therefore, we cannot boast of merits and works if they are viewed apart from grace and mercy. As it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord” (1 Cor 1:31), namely, that we have a gracious God. Then all is well. In addition, we say that if good works do not follow, that faith is false, not true.

Pulling It Together

It is critical that we understand what real faith is, and is not. Faith is not mere belief, for as James says, even demons believe in that sense (James 2:19). Nor is faith merely good works, as we may readily observe. There are many who do good deeds but who do not believe in God, let alone Christ. Real faith, however, is rooted in the conviction that we cannot save ourselves from sin, death, and the devil. As a result, true faith trusts in Christ alone—his work on the cross for our salvation. That kind of faith insists that faith and works cannot be separated, that if we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8–9), then we have been created (reborn) for good works (Eph 2:10) that give God glory through our lives.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for granting me faith in Christ, and through his Spirit, moving me to do your will. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Have you gotten your liturgical calendars yet? One for the sacristy...one for each person on the altar guild...one for the secretary...one for the pastor...

Printed two sides on glossy card stock. Order online or by calling 1-888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1134.html Tue, 20 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Acts 15:7–11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 130

Part III, Article XIII. How One is Justified before God, and of Good Works.

I do know not how I would change in the least what I taught previously and constantly about this, namely, that by faith, as St. Peter says, we receive a new and clean heart, and that God will and does deem us entirely righteous and holy for the sake of Christ, our mediator. Though sin in the flesh is not yet altogether dead and gone, he will not punish or remember it.

Pulling It Together

Faith is the passive receiver. It does not grab or make wild efforts that get in the way, as though flailing its limbs trying to grasp the unreachable. Faith does not seize; it simply receives what is given. Human reason and effort cannot make itself clean or create a new heart and reborn life. However, these things are available by God’s grace, and may be received through faith. Afterwards, you will look the same and quite often act the same. But you are not regarded the same by God. Where once you were dead, you are now filled with his Spirit. Where you were filthy and unrighteous before, you are now cleansed and holy. All of this happens, not because you got busy and cleaned up your ways, but because you received the good gifts of God, given to you by grace, only through faith, for Christ’s sake.

Prayer: God, who alone knows my heart, cleanse it for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those who may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1133.html Mon, 19 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Philippians 3:8–11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article XII. Concerning the Church.

We do not concede to them that they are the Church, for they are not. Nor will we listen to what they command or forbid under the name of Church. Thank God that a seven-year-old child knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. Children pray, “I believe in one holy Christian Church.” This holiness does not entail albs, tonsures, long gowns, and other ceremonies devised by them beyond Holy Scripture, but consists in the Word of God and true faith.

Pulling It Together

The Church is the communion of saints, that blessed fellowship of those who believe in and are faithful to Jesus Christ. Her holiness is not a sanctity or purity of her own, that depends upon and results from acts of devotion and ceremonies. The righteousness of Christ’s Church is the outcome of faith in God’s Word, namely that God gives the Church the good gifts of his Spirit, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and everlasting life.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, keep me in true faith, through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. The Leader's Guide that accompanies this study is a resource for those facilitating group discussion, or may serve as a reader's commentary for those who are studying the Book of Concord on their own.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1132.html Sat, 17 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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1 Timothy 4:1–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article XI. Concerning the Marriage of Priests.

They had neither the authority nor the right to prohibit marriage, to burden the divine order of priests with perpetual celibacy. They have acted like antichristian, tyrannical, desperate scoundrels, and have thereby caused innumerable, horrible, abominable sins of unchastity in which they still wallow. Now, as little as we or they have been given the power to make a woman out of a man or a man out of a woman, or to nullify either sex, they have just as little power to separate these creatures of God, or to forbid them from living honestly with one another in marriage. We are unwilling, therefore, to assent to their abominable celibacy, nor will we tolerate it. We will have marriage free as God established it, not wishing to either revoke or hinder his work, as Paul says that this is a doctrine of devils (1 Tim 4:1ff).

Pulling It Together

I vaguely recall a Christmas when I was 16 or 17 years old and refused to open presents. Realizing how foolish and hurtful I was acting, I conceded by joining in the festivities. I had been feeling myself to be a pathetic son, unworthy to receive gifts from his parents, and imagining that not happily receiving their gifts would somehow make me a better son. Of course, quite the opposite was true. 

Prayer: Make me truly thankful, Lord, for all your good gifts. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This free download provides an overview of Sola Publishing’s online worship resource: SOWeR. There are sample pages from the website to provide you with a sense of the variety of content offered in this subscription-based resource. Subscribe here. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1131.html Fri, 16 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Jeremiah 23:1–4

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Therefore, as the ancient examples of the Church and the Fathers teach us, we ourselves should and will ordain suitable persons to this office. Their own laws do not allow them the right to forbid or prevent us. Their laws declare that even those ordained by heretics should be regarded as ordained and remain ordained. In addition, St. Jerome wrote of the Church at Alexandria, that was originally governed without bishops by priests and preachers in common.

Pulling It Together

If there are no bishops to ordain pastors, or if the bishops will not do so, it remains the Church’s responsibility to make sure new pastors are prepared, ordained, and called to serve congregations. The Church will always have this need, as the Gospel must continually be preached everywhere. Therefore, the Church must never allow bad leadership or the lack of oversight that can sometimes occur, to stand in the way. At such times, as in Luther’s time, those who are already ordained overseers serving the churches—their pastors—must ordain new pastors, until traditional oversight is restored. If the Church does not see to this responsibility, God himself will do so, and deal with the Church accordingly.

Prayer: Place faithful shepherds over your Church, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1130.html Thu, 15 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Ephesians 4:11–13

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article X. Concerning Ordination and the Call.

If the bishops would be true bishops, dedicating themselves to the Church and the Gospel, it might be granted for the sake of love and unity, yet not from necessity, for them to ordain and confirm us and our preachers, as long as all sham and performance of unchristian ceremony and showiness were excluded. The Church should not remain deprived of ministers just because they are not true bishops—nor do they wish to be—but are instead, worldly lords and princes who do not preach, teach, baptize, administer the Lord’s Supper, or perform any work or function of the Church. Indeed, they persecute and condemn those who have been called and who do fulfill the office.

Pulling It Together

Christ calls ministers of his Gospel. If an institution, tradition, or just plain poor management stands in the way of their placement, it is the Church’s responsibility to make a way for them. If this is not accomplished, the Church of Christ will not grow in faith, unity, knowledge, and maturity. The Good Shepherd’s flock must be tended. If bad leadership or bad doctrine are obstacles, get rid of the problems but not the call.

Prayer: Guide your Church, Lord, in the ordination and call of faithful ministers of your Gospel. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Retirement: The Good, the Bad, the Blessings is a nine-session study takes a look at the good, the bad, and the blessings of retirement, reflecting on biblical themes that speak to this season of life. For those who are in retirement, as well as those who are moving toward it, God continues to open up new possibilities and challenges, as we continue to follow Christ into the future. As in all things, God walks with us, promising that he will never forsake us.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1129.html Wed, 14 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 16:17–18

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article IX. Of Excommunication.

We regard the greater excommunication, as the pope calls it, as a civil penalty that does not concern us ministers of the Church. However, the lesser, that is, true Christian excommunication, does not admit obvious and obstinate sinners to the Sacrament and other fellowship of the Church until they change their ways and avoid sin. Ministers should not mingle civil punishments with excommunication, a church discipline.

Pulling It Together

The greater excommunication or excommunicatio major was an ecclesiastical penalty that introduced civil and political restrictions as well as religious limitations. Scripture does not teach this overlap of responsibility; yet it is clear about how to deal with those who brazenly sin, cause divisions in the Church, or hold to false teaching. Because such people are not only a harm to themselves, but also lead others astray, they should no longer be regarded as Christian but instead, as those outside of the communion of saints (Matt 18:15–20). Indeed, they are to be treated in such a way that they only have civil benefits—like taxes. As Christ does not call the Church to remove both secular and religious rights, his Church should be careful to do only what God has called her to do, trusting him to care for those outside the Church through the rule of law.  

Prayer: Guard your Church from smooth talkers and false teachers, Lord, and keep her faithful to your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1128.html Tue, 13 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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John 15:1–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 124

God wished to appear even to Moses through the burning bush and spoken Word. No prophet—not even Elijah or Elisha—received the Spirit without the Ten Commandments. John the Baptist was not conceived without the preceding word of Gabriel, nor did he leap in his mother’s womb without the voice of Mary. Peter says, “No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:21). However, they were not holy without the outward Word, and the Holy Spirit would not have moved them to speak when they still were unholy. They were holy, Peter says, because the Holy Spirit spoke through them.

Pulling It Together

The Word of God sanctifies all whom it touches. This cleansing does not happen to people because they do holy things but instead, because the holy God has forgiven them of all their sin. Believers are cleansed through faith in him, and so, in what he promises. His Word accomplishes this holying in us. Now, we must abide in his Word so that we are cleansed daily and bear fruit of the Vine, who is Christ, the living Word of God.

Prayer: Cleanse me again today, Lord God, and give me faith to abide tomorrow. Amen.

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A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is an advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover each chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Part 1  •  Part 1 Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Part Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1127.html Mon, 12 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Timothy 4:1–4

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

In a word, enthusiasm dwells in Adam and his children from the beginning to the end of the world. It has been implanted and saturated into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power, and strength of all heresy, especially that of the papacy and Mohammed. Therefore, we should and must constantly insist that God does not wish to deal with us except through the external Word and the Sacraments. Whatever is ascribed to the Spirit apart from the Word and Sacraments is of the devil himself.

Pulling It Together

You see how important, how central the Word must be to all doctrine. We dare not permit anyone to claim a special word from God. Let a person speak the external, revealed Word of God and be content. Let his Word speak condemnation and forgiveness in the Sacraments, and then be pleased that God has spoken. It is not too surprising that so many of these new, so-called “words from God” say nothing of wrath and sin. They appeal to human desires instead of God’s will. Be sure of it: God’s Word speaks to the human condition, not its passions. God’s Word will always call you out for what you are: a sinner. Only then, when you have understood your need, will his word of forgiveness come. Without the external word of law and gospel, fanaticism finds a foothold every time.

Prayer: Thank you, Father for forgiving me, a sinner, saved by your grace alone, through Christ. Amen.

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A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1126.html Sat, 10 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Galatians 3:5–6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 122

Cornelius (Acts 10:1ff) had heard long before from the Jews about the coming Messiah, through whom he was made righteous before God, and by such faith his prayers and alms were acceptable to God. Luke calls him devout and God-fearing. However, he could not have believed or been righteous unless the external Word and his hearing of it came first. St. Peter had to reveal to him that the Messiah, in whose coming he had already believed, had already come. This external witness freed him from captivity among hardened and unbelieving Jews who insisted the Messiah was yet to come. Now he knew that salvation comes through the present Messiah, and that he must not join in with the Jews by denying or persecuting him.

Pulling It Together

For all his devotion and good deeds, Cornelius was not spared from the wrath of God against sin. Though he feared God, he did not know him. He believed in a coming Savior but was not saved. Through the preaching of Christ, the good news of salvation was delivered to Cornelius. That external word was required for him to have faith in Christ. Without that word and the faith it generated, he would have remained confined to a life of good works and religious devotion, never having believed in the one he awaited.  

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Lord, that I may always believe your Word. Amen.

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From Death to Life examines what happens when people die. In this book, the words of the Holy Bible and others like Martin Luther, will speak to you, tell you the truth, and give you words of comfort, so that you too can have the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1124.html Fri, 09 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 10:17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Even those who believe before Baptism, or who came to faith through Baptism, believe through the preceding, outward Word. Adults, who have come to reason, must first have heard: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” even if they did not immediately believe, and received the Spirit and Baptism ten years afterwards.

Pulling It Together

That someone could believe in someone or something that they have never heard of is an absurd notion. How can anyone believe in Christ without having heard of him? How could they have known of him without an external word? God’s external Word is required for faith to take hold. A so-called internal word is the stuff of fantasy, the spiritualism run amok in our society. It says, there are many ways up the mountain; how dare you say there is one way? The internal word declares, my way is as valid as anyone’s. This internal word is the basis of the blind conceit that surrounds us in our society.

All the while, true faith looks intently at a single source of revelation: the external Word of God. Whether it is delivered by a preacher in a sermon or by the Spirit in reading Scripture, it is this external word alone that God uses to bring people to faith, and to keep them in the faith.

Prayer: Open my eyes and ears, Lord, that I may see and hear you through your Word. Amen.

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This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1123.html Thu, 08 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Timothy 3:1–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

All this is the old devil, that old serpent who also led Adam and Eve into being fanatics by leading them from the outward Word of God to spirituality and self-conceit, accomplishing this through other external words. Our present day fanatics also condemn the spoken Word, but that does not keep them silent. They fill the world with their blathering and scrawling, as though the Spirit could not come through the Scripture or spoken word of the apostles, that instead, he must come through their writing and words. Why then, do they not also exclude their own sermons and writings, until the Spirit Himself comes to people without and prior to their writings, since they boast that he has come into them without the preaching of the Scriptures? There is no time now to dispute these matters at greater length. We have sufficiently dealt with them elsewhere.

Pulling It Together

The Word of God is the foundation of doctrinal authority. It is God’s agency of grace. Human reason cheats people out of his grace and turns them into true fanatics who rely on their own so-called insights instead of the conviction of Scripture. Without the Holy Scriptures being their base, they become prideful gnostics, arrogantly believing their own word as divine instead of God’s Word. In the end, this is not their word at all; it is the devil’s, and they have been seduced more easily than Adam and Eve.

Prayer: Give me faith in your Word, Lord. Amen.

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Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1122.html Wed, 07 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Galatians 3:2

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

In those things that concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold the conviction that God grants his Spirit or grace to no one except through or with the preceding outward Word. In this way, we are protected from the enthusiasts, those spiritualists who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word. Accordingly, they judge Scripture or the spoken Word, explaining and twisting it at their pleasure, as Münzer did, and many still do today, who wish to severely judge between the Spirit and the letter while not knowing what they say or teach. Indeed, the papacy too is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, as the pope boasts that all laws exist in the shrine of his heart, that whatever he decides and commands in his churches is spirit and law, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word.

Pulling It Together

God gives us his Spirit, and an understanding of the things of the Spirit, through his Word. “God told me,” does not cut it. “It is written,” is the way of God’s people. Examples are in abundance. God told me I don’t need to go to Church. He said that you are supposed to give me a thousand dollars, or, you are supposed to marry me. These statements do not require much discernment. Is it God’s will at work or the will of the person making the declaration? Is God speaking to you through his Word or from the lips and will of a human being who would shape you to his or her desire? Obeying the will of another, contrary to Scripture, is just one more way of trying to be right through doing things. This is not how we receive the Spirit of God. God’s Spirit and grace are received by hearing his Word through faith.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Father. Amen.

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Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1121.html Tue, 06 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 7:21–25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

However, the enumeration of sins ought to be free to all, as to what each wishes to enumerate—or not. As long as we are in the flesh, we shall not lie if we confess, “I am a lowly person, full of sin.” “I see in my members another law…” etc (Rom 7:23). Private absolution should not be despised as it originates in the Office of the Keys. It should be highly esteemed and valued, as all other funtions of the Christian Church.

Pulling It Together

Within myself, I delight in God’s Word. But I cannot do it, much as I try. I am a sinner; that much I can confess. And more! For, though I cannot do what the Word tells me, I keep it and remain delighted by its promises. For it is Christ within me who has kept the Word and fulfilled its demands. Only Christ in me is my “hope of glory,” (Col 1:27), not my lengthy lists of sins or other religious acts. I need only be graciously reminded of two things: that I am a sinner and that I am forgiven for Christ’s sake.

Prayer: Keep me ever near you, Lord. Amen.

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The Life of Martin Luther Children's Coloring & Storybook presents children with an an easy-to-read introduction to the life of one of the most influential Christians in history, Martin Luther. From his childhood, to his days as a monk, to his becoming a teacher and pastor in Wittenberg — the stories in this book trace Luther's life of faith through many struggles and challenges, showing us what it means to be faithful to God's Word and bear witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1120.html Mon, 05 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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Psalm 25:11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article VIII. Of Confession.

Since absolution or the power of the keys is prescribed by Christ in the Gospel, and is also an aid and consolation against sin and a bad conscience, confession and absolution should by no means be abolished in the Church, especially because of timid consciences and for the sake of untrained young people, so that they may be examined and instructed in Christian doctrine.

Pulling It Together

It is a means of grace to be reminded of what we know—or to be told and taught what we do not know yet. Therefore, the Gospel itself is a means of grace. The Word of Christ, that we are forgiven for his sake, not because of the religious things we do, is grace to those who receive it in faith.

Prayer: Give me faith, Lord, to trust in your promises. Amen.

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The Life of Martin Luther is written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This nine-session adult study takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1119.html Sat, 03 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 16:19

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article VII. Of the Keys.

The keys are a role and power given to the Church by Christ for binding and loosing sin—not only egregious and familiar sins, but also the subtle and secret, known only to God. It is written: “But who can discern his errors?” (Psa 19:12). St. Paul himself complains that with the flesh he serves “the law of sin” (Rom 7:25).

It is not in our power, but in God’s alone, to judge which, how great, and how many are our sins. It is written: “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for no man living is righteous before thee” (Psa 143:2). And Paul says, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted” (1 Cor 4:4).

Pulling It Together

How is this binding and loosing of sins accomplished? Does it occur because one has finally confessed the last sin? If so, how does one confess an unknown sin, a stray thought, a wayward and quickly forgotten glance or word, an unknown, undone deed? Our sins are endless; give me a minute and I will produce two more. But with a word received with faith, it is all forgiven. Every sin—known and unknown, confessed in detail or part and parcel of the whole body of sin—is forgiven in Christ’s name. By his authority, the Church forgives the sins of all who call upon the name of the Lord. This loosing of sins does not happen because we have a clear conscience, but by God’s mercy through Christ. In a few words, we know we are sinners but we know with even more certainty that we have a Savior.

Prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart, and lead me in your ancient, everlasting way. Amen.

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This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week, Lenten series that features dramatic monologues from Martin Luther, explaining what each part of the catechism means—ending it with the affirmation" "This is most certainly true!"

In addition to the monologues, there is a sample worship service outline, hymns suggestions for each monologue, and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1118.html Fri, 02 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 14:22–25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 115

We do not care for the subtle lies about transubstantiation they teach: that bread and wine leave or lose their natural substance, retaining only the appearance and color of bread, instead of true bread. It is and remains bread. This perfectly agrees with Holy Scriptures, as Paul himself says, “the bread which we break” (1 Cor 10:16), and, “eat of the bread” (1 Cor 11:28).

Pulling It Together

Take this bread; it is my body. That is straightforward talk that holds a mystery. You either believe what Jesus said, or you do not, or you add to his words so that they fit human reason. One cannot explain miracles, that which exceeds the natural. But one may believe without bending the mystery to fit the ability or willingness to believe. This belief is not without foundation, for these are the direct words of Christ Jesus, recorded in Scripture.

Prayer: Give me faith to believe, Lord God. Amen.

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The Lord's Prayer workbook is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on the Introduction, each of the Petitions, and the Conclusion. The Scripture focus in the Lord's Prayer series is on the Parables of Jesus, with Bible Study lessons taken from the Gospels.

The Sola Confirmation Series is a basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum, designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1117.html Thu, 01 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 9:2–8

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 114

We especially condemn and in God’s name loathe those who, not only omit both kinds but also, quite tyrannically prohibit, condemn, and blaspheme the use of both kinds as heresy. In doing so, they exalt themselves over and against Christ, our Lord and God, etc.

Pulling It Together

Who should the Church listen to: God or traditions? Christ or modern-day pharisees? The Holy Spirit or the teachings of the universities? God’s Word or church councils? Much of the Church is in a cloud of her own making. May she look around at all she has contrived, and see only Jesus—and listen to him instead of herself.

Prayer: Speak to me, Lord, and I will listen. Amen.

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All of the Sola Sunday Schoolhouse materials for Year C may be found here. They include reproducible sheets of Bible lesson, pictures, drama, worksheets, and a Christmas program. This is the Schoolhouse unit subtitled "Stories from the Beginning," covering Bible stories from the first half of the Old Testament, from Genesis through Joshua.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1116.html Wed, 31 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 11:23–25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The Sacrament is not to be given in one kind. We do not lean on the specious wisdom of the sophists and the Council of Constance who inform us both kinds are under the one. Even if it were true that there is as much under one as under both, yet the one kind only is not the entire ordinance and institution ordained and commanded by Christ.

Pulling It Together

“What did I tell you?” How many times have we heard that while growing up? Listening carefully, then doing what you were told is a staple of becoming a responsible adult. I cannot begin to imagine what would have happened to me if I had responded, I don’t care what you said; I’m going to do this instead. I was told to not run out into the street after a ball had rolled there. First, I had to look both ways (twice) to be sure there were no cars coming along. If I only looked one way, it would have been a matter of time before the odds caught up to me. I think I recall doing just that, then being called in the house by one or both of my watchful parents and asked, “Did you look both ways before you chased after that ball?” A hung-head “no” was probably groaned. Then do what I told you!

Indeed; do what he told us to do.

Prayer: Help me listen to and obey you, Lord. Amen.

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The Life of Martin Luther is written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This nine-session adult study takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1115.html Tue, 30 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 6:48–51

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article VI. Of the Sacrament of the Altar.

Concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, we hold that the bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ. The Sacrament is administered and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians.

Pulling It Together

It all falls on faith — not tradition, or in the case of these two sentences in the Smalcald Articles, not on piety, personal holiness, or the faithfulness of the minister. Is the Word present in the elements of bread and wine? Then it may be receieved, even if you are a sinner and being served by another sinner. Christ’s meal is not instituted on the so-called goodness of men, but on his word: “This is my body...this is my blood...” If this portioned word is received in faith, the devil himself may have administered it and it would have been the very grace of God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of your body and blood. Amen.

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Learning About Confession - Teacher's Guide guides leaders in teaching the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. The student book, Learning About Confession is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1114.html Mon, 29 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 19:13–15

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 111

Concerning the baptism of children, we hold that children should be baptized. Because they are included in the promise of redemption made through Christ, the Church should administer Baptism to them.

Pulling It Together

Jesus said the kingdom of God belongs to children. Are they part of his kingdom because of their own goodness or efforts? No more than anyone is because of personal merit. Are they included in the kingdom by virtue of age? Does original sin settle in at a later time or is it part of the human condition? What is the means of God’s grace for any such soul? Knowing that it is baptism, the Church of Christ should then, let the little children come to Jesus. His lap is open.

Prayer: Lord, help your Church receive children in your name. Amen.

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"Why Did Jesus Have to Die?" examines the most profound event of salvation history—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement. This six-week Bible Study would be particularly appropriate during the season of Lent.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1113.html Fri, 26 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Ephesians 5:25–27

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article V. Of Baptism.

Baptism is nothing else than the Word of God in water, commanded by his institution, or, as Paul says, a washing in the Word. Augustine also says, “Let the Word come to the element and it becomes a Sacrament.” That is why we do not agree with Thomas and the Dominicans who forget the Word (God’s institution) and claim that God has imparted to the water a spiritual power that washes away sin with the water. Nor do we agree with Scotus and the Franciscans who teach that, by the assistance of the divine will, baptism washes away sins only by the will of God, instead of through the Word and the water.

Pulling It Together

The Church is made holy — completely so and without a single stain — because God says so in his Word. This is what we believe through faith in Christ. This washing is done without mystery or human explanation, by the simple agency of water and what God has spoken. It does not need our reason to make it so; it demands our faith alone. It is the power of God’s Word joined with the water and met with faith that makes baptism a holying agent. This trust in what God says clothes the Church in a glorious gown of righteousness not her own (Phil 3:9) — a righteousness unveiled in the water and the Word through faith in Christ.

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Lord, to live in your righteousness. Amen.

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One For All is a nine-session Bible study explores the center of the Christian faith by focusing on the unique and exclusive promise of Jesus. It examines not only the claims that Christ made about himself in Scripture, but the claim that the Lord makes on our lives as well. By focusing on the Gospel message of salvation in Christ alone, the study seeks to show how God makes us a part of His mission to the whole world, and how "the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all."

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1112.html Thu, 25 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 34:6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article IV. Of the Gospel

We will now return to the Gospel, which gives us counsel and aid against sin in more than one way, for God is overflowing with the riches of his grace. His grace flows first, through the spoken Word by which the forgiveness of sins (the unique office of the Gospel) is preached to the whole world; second, through Baptism; third, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar; fourth, through the power of the keys, and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints. “For where two or three are gathered in my name” etc. (Matt 18:20).

Pulling It Together

Again, we see why repentance is so important. God is rich in mercy, forgiving sin but not absolving the “guilty.” The guilty are those who will not own their sin, those who will not admit and confess all their sin. This does not mean every individual sin (which would be impossible to remember) but rather, that they do sin and have the lingering effects of original sin. Nonetheless, God is rich in mercy and grace toward sinners. So, we should repent daily and expect his mercy and grace.

His grace abundantly comes to us in a variety of ways that we should take advantage of as often as possible. All of these means of grace —preaching, Baptism, Holy Communion, the power of the keys, the communion of saints — are rooted in and flow from the proclaimed Word that points to Christ Jesus, himself the glorious source of grace, being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Prayer: Forgive me, O God, by your infinite mercy and grace, through the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

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Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1111.html Mon, 22 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 John 1:5–10

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Accordingly, it is necessary to know and to teach that when holy people who still have and feel original sin, and who also daily repent of and strive with sin, happen to fall into obvious sins—as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy—faith and the Holy Spirit have departed from them. The Holy Spirit does not allow sin to rule and gain the upper hand so that it is accomplished, but represses and restrains it so that it does not do what it desires. But if it does what it wishes, the Holy Spirit and faith are not present. For St. John says, “No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). Yet, it is also the truth when the same St. John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

Pulling It Together

You now see why repentance is so necessary in the Christian life. In order for faith to remain, the Spirit must be within us. The Spirit does not continue where sin is present, where unrighteousness is permitted to remain and dwell. So, it is important that we face and confess our sins in order that the promise may be received: that God may cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is an ongoing process in the lives of all saints and sinners.

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that I may always believe you love and forgive sinners like me. Amen.

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Family Matters is a nine-session Bible study that focuses on the first generations of God's people—Abraham and his descendants. It looks at how God's covenant promise sustained them as they navigated family relationships.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1110.html Sat, 20 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 John 2:1–2

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

On the other hand, certain fanatics may arise (some being already present, as came to view at the time of the uprising), believing that everyone who has received the Spirit or the forgiveness of sins, or had once become believers, still remain in the faith even though they afterwards sin. They claim these sins will not harm them. They bellow: Do whatever you please. If you believe, it all amounts to nothing; faith blots out all sins, and so forth. Besides this they say that if people sin after receiving faith and the Spirit, they never really had the Spirit and faith. I have run into many of these insane people, and I fear that such a devil is still dwelling in some of them.

Pulling It Together

True Christians always feel the sin within them—that which they were born with and that which they commit. They must therefore, repent daily. We should not deliberately and arrogantly sin, allowing ourselves the notion that in doing so, God’s grace will be poured out on us all the more (Rom 6:1–2). Still, when we do sin, we must call it what it is: sin, a trespass against God. We should then, confess it as real sin and give thanks that we have a righteous defender in the court of heaven. Christ himself makes the legal argument and begs his Father’s forgiveness of our sins. His evidence for our forgiveness does not point to our innocence or good deeds or religious behavior. Instead, all evidence points to the cross, and that his righteousness blots out the sin of all who believe.

Prayer: Help me, Father, keep your commandments and when I do not, to trust in your mercy for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1109.html Fri, 19 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Jonah 3:10–4:3

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 106

The pope, the theologians, the jurists, and everyone else know nothing of this doctrine. It is revealed from heaven through the gospel, yet called heresy by the godless saints.

Pulling It Together

Human reason simply does not comprehend the great love of God. It cannot. Natural thought goes along this line: I must have to do something. So startling is the doctrine of God’s love so freely given, that it can even make us angry—especially when his love is expressed to those we refuse to love. Nonetheless, God’s love is so large that he desires all people of all lands to repent, be saved, and know what is true (Acts 17:30; 1 Tim 2:4). But repentance, salvation, and truth do not come by our own struggle, work, and reason. They come to us only by the grace of God. Without his grace, we concoct our own truths, comfortable doctrines that suit us until they leave us complaining in the shade of self-pity.

Prayer: Help my unbelief, Lord. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1108.html Thu, 18 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 7:21–25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This repentance continues until death in Christians, because it contends with sin remaining in the flesh through the entire life.  Paul testifies in Romans 7:14–25 that he battles with the law in his extremities, etc. Yet he does so, not by his own powers, but by the gift of the Holy Spirit that follows the forgiveness of sins. This gift daily cleanses and sweeps out the remaining sins and causes people to be truly pure and holy.

Pulling It Together

How often have you wished to do what is right, but find yourself unable? Within yourself, in your “inmost self” (RSV) or soul, you want to do right, but discover you cannot do so in your outward parts. We are all like Peter, who insisted he would lay down his life for Jesus, yet over and over denied knowing him. So Jesus, who cannot deny his great love for us, must lay down his body for us. The law prompts us to do right, but we cannot, for the flesh is weaker than we care to admit. So, God’s Spirit, who really is alive within us, has us do something more wondrous than doing what we intended to do. When we cannot keep the law, we are empowered to do something far greater: believe. At this point, multiple times a day, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the word to have faith in Christ—not in ourselves, our abilities, or our bold resolve that we will lay down our lives for him. His Spirit helps us when we have failed yet again (Rom 8:26). These moments come often but we should not despair, for in our weakness and failures, Christ is strong (2 Cor 12:9). This is why Paul boasts of his own weaknesses (2 Cor 12:5), for to do so is to boast of Christ’s strength. Human power results in death but God’s grace is sufficient to save you to eternal life.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, and be strong in me through faith in you. Amen.

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the atonement.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1107.html Wed, 17 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 1:16–17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

John preaches about this repentance, and afterwards Christ does the same in the Gospel, and we also. By this preaching of repentance we dash to the ground the pope and everything that is built upon our good works. For all of that is constructed upon a rotten and futile foundation, which is called good works or the law. There is no good work there, but only wicked works, as no one keeps the law (Christ says so in John 7:19) but all transgress it. Therefore, everything built upon it is nothing but falsehood and hypocrisy, even if it seems most holy and beautiful.

Pulling It Together

The law was given us to illustrate how corrupt we really are. Therefore, it shows us our need for Christ’s gospel. We should then, receive the fullness of his grace, which he freely gives, instead of using the law to earn his grace. There is nothing we might do in any case, incompetent as we are, to merit God’s favor. This would be a futile effort at best, since God already loves us (John 3:16) and is disposed to give us his grace (Rom 5:8). This grace of God only comes through his act in Christ Jesus, not through our actions. 

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your loving gift of grace, through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Remind your family and friends of the hope that they have in Christ. A variety of beautiful greeting cards are available from Sola Publishing. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1106.html Tue, 16 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 15:57

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This repentance is not little by little and incomplete, like that which does penance for individual sins, nor is it uncertain like that. It does not debate what is or is not sin, but amasses it all on a heap, and confesses: Everything in us is nothing but sin. Of what use is lengthy investigation, discerning, or deciding? For this reason, too, such contrition is not unsure, as there is nothing left that we can imagine to be good enough to pay for sin. There is only certain despair concerning all that we are, think, speak, or do.

Pulling It Together

Over the years, I have become even more certain of one thing: I am forgiven of all my sins for Christ’s sake. If I am left to the resources of my behavior—either my sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, or my contrition, acts of penance, and other religious services—I am altogether ruined and hopeless. But thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ for his victory over my sin, and the sins of the world. He is my only hope; of that I am certain.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for Christ’s victory over sin and death. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1105.html Mon, 15 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 6:10–12

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Paul also preaches this way: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom 3:10-12). And in Acts 17:30, God commands “all people everywhere to repent.” He says, “all men.” No person is exempted. This repentance teaches us to understand sin, that we are utterly lost, that there is nothing good in us from head to foot, and that we must become entirely new and different people.

Pulling It Together

No one was excepted in Jesus’ commission to the disciples. Even the scribes and the Pharisees were warned of their need to repent (Matt 3:7). The so-called holy people, as much as the atheist, need the admonition to repent. Why? Because all people are lost. We are not just a little disoriented, misdirected, in need of a little guidance or self-help. We are completely lost, unable to find our way out of the death and darkness that faces us all. So, out of his great love for all people, Jesus sends the word: repent!

In this place of initial recognition of who were truly are, we see our great need. Only then, are we able to hear the saving word of forgiveness (1 John 1:9). In that word, we are secured by the love of God in Christ (Rom 8:31–33). In that moment, the old person passes away and God makes us new (2 Cor 5:17).

Repent!

Prayer: Thank you, God, that through Jesus, you do not count my trespasses against me. Amen.

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All God’s Critters is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1104.html Sat, 13 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Galatians 3:10–11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Here comes the fiery angel, St. John, the true preacher of repentance. With a single thunderbolt he hurls both on one heap. He says, “Repent!” (Matt 3:2). Now, the former think, Why? We have repented. The latter say, We need no repentance. John says, Both of you, repent, for you are false penitents and false saints. All of you on either side need the forgiveness of sins, because neither knows what sin truly is, to say nothing of your duty to repent of and shun sin. None of you is good. All of you are filled with unbelief, stupidity, and ignorance of God and his will.

Yet, God is present here, and from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16). Without him no one can be just before God. So, if you wish to repent, do so properly, for your penance will accomplish nothing. And you hypocrites, who do not need repentance, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt 3:7; Luke 3:7).

Pulling It Together

Ask God to forgive you for the sake of Christ. Do not ask God to forgive you for the sake of the good or religious things you have done or will do. Nor should you expect to be forgiven because of the supposed goodness of others. Their so-called holiness cannot negate your sin. Simply be sorry for your sin, and ask God’s forgiveness. He forgives you because of Jesus. Indeed, he is the only reason you will be forgiven, and God is faithful and right to do so (1 John 1:9).

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your justice, that which depends upon Christ instead of me. Amen.

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The Reason for the Seasons is a flexible Sunday School curriculum connecting Scripture to the seasons of the Church Year. The emphasis in the series is on Bible stories that illustrate the major events and themes of each season. Using a "one-room schoolhouse" approach, the series allows children of varying ages and grade levels to meet together.

Each session in the Bible Story Lesson Book contains the biblical basis and core materials for leading a Sunday School class. Permission is granted to reproduce the pages of this book for local individual or congregational use. In keeping with the intended "one-room" audience, the resources provided in the book are suited to various elementary age levels — from simple coloring pages to interactive dramas.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1103.html Fri, 12 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Luke 18:10–14

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Such people did not need repentance, for what would they repent of since they had not indulged wicked thoughts? What would they confess since they had not uttered words? For what should they render satisfaction? They were so guiltless of sinful deeds that they could even sell their surplus righteousness to other poor sinners! The Pharisees and scribes during Christ’s time were such saints.

Pulling It Together

This is a matter of justification, a matter upon which we must not give way even an inch. For faith in Christ is the only thing that justifies. If it were otherwise, Christ’s death is meaningless. Justification will never happen because we are good or holy enough for God, as if that could even happen. God sent his Son into a world of sin and unrighteousness to save it, not to give people more things to do that they cannot do at any rate. His death and resurrection are what matter—not the amount of our good deeds. Nor can we add others’ good works to our own, hoping that it all adds up to a righteousness that justifies God to us. The volume is not what matters; Christ is what matters. God justifies sinners through faith in Christ. There is no other way than to confess, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” for Jesus has done everything necessary to justify us to his Father.

Prayer: God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Amen.

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Sola offers a variety of Christmas programs, both in reproducible print and downloadable formats. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1102.html Thu, 11 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Peter 3:18

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Some did not believe they were guilty of such actual sins: sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. Many like myself in monasteries and chapters, wishing to be monks and priests, fought evil thoughts through fasting, night watches, prayers, saying Masses, rough clothing, hard beds, etc. Altogether earnest, we intensely desired to be holy. Yet, the hereditary evil born within us sometimes did in sleep what it naturally does (as Augustine, Jerome, and others confess). Still, each one held some others in such high regard, that according to our teaching, they were regarded as holy, without sin, and full of good works. So, we would share and sell our good works to others, believing them to be more than we needed for heaven. This is undeniably true, for there are seals, letters, and examples available.

Pulling It Together

We cannot give our good works to other sinners. Who would want such filthy rags, in any case? Nor may we sell them; that would be trading in counterfeit goods. Our suffering and other religious works avail us nothing, let alone gain heaven for others. But thanks be to God, that Jesus Christ the righteous has done the suffering for we, the unrighteous. He has accomplished everything necessary for forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. We must then, have complete faith in him, and no faith in ourselves or others.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians. It is filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Connections provides great food for the soul. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of CALC, LCMC, NALC, Lutheran Core, and other evangelical Lutherans from congregations across North America. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1101.html Wed, 10 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Titus 1:1–3

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Even all this gave no comfort. Although the pope taught people to trust and depend upon these indulgences, he made the matter uncertain again. For in his decrees he declares that whoever would benefit from the indulgences or a Golden Year must be contrite, have made confession, and pay money. Now, we have heard above that their practice of contrition and confession are uncertain and hypocritical. Besides, no one knew what soul was in purgatory, and if some were there, no one knew which had properly repented and confessed. So, he took their precious money, and comforted them meanwhile with his power and indulgence, then directed them again to their uncertain works.

Pulling It Together

The hope of eternal life does not come through religious actions, the promises of pastors, priests, and popes, or payment plans. All of these will disappoint sooner or later. Your good deeds will always be suspect. How can you know whether they are good enough or plentiful enough? You cannot know. Nor will you trust the guarantees of a minister. No matter how kind and good you find that person to be, his reassurances will always be insubstantial when weighed in the balance with sin and death. Nor does God’s Word have us pay money for salvation. His Word calls us to do but one thing: believe. The hope of eternal life only comes through faith in Christ Jesus as preached in the Word of God. When facing death, faith in Christ alone brings certain comfort.

Prayer: Give me certain hope for eternal life, O God, and solid trust in your promises. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1100.html Tue, 09 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Timothy 2:3b–6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

So, later he sent his delegates into the countries until all churches and houses were overflowing with the Golden Year. Eventually, he also made a way to the dead in purgatory, first, by instituting masses and vigils (for the dead), afterwards, by indulgences and the Golden Year for them. After a while, souls became so cheap that he released one for the smallest coin.

Pulling It Together

The highest price was paid for souls because, in fact, they are not cheap. The ransom price for sinners is