Sola Publishing News and Feedback http://worship.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html News, devotions and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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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Customized Catechisms http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 15 Apr 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger photo.

Sola has an edition of the Small Catechism that is useful in outreach. Some churches give "The Basics of the Christian Faith" to their visitors, or have copies in the pews for people to take home with them. Other churches use it in new members' packets. I take a copy to first-time visitors. In follow-up visits, I refer to "that booklet" so that the conversation ends up being a Bible study. 

Moreover, Sola offers this version of the Small Catechism in a customized version. Add your church's name, address, phone number or website. Click here for details.

"The Basics of the Christian Faith" includes:

  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Apostles' Creed
  • The Lord's Prayer
  • An Explanation of Baptism and Communion
  • A selection of daily prayers

 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.html Thu, 04 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 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/summaries.html Wed, 03 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 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/summaries.html Tue, 02 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

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/summaries.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/summaries.html Fri, 29 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

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/summaries.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/summaries.html Wed, 27 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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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/summaries.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/summaries.html Tue, 26 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

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/summaries.html Mon, 25 Mar 19 00:00:00 -0500

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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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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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/summaries.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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The Small Catechism http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 27 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600 Here is a collection of wallpaper graphics. Use them here to memorize the Ten Commandments. Or click each one to enlarge and save. Then right-click and save as your deskptop wallpaper. When you have memorized it, do the same thing with the next commandment. 

More graphics will be added daily, as well as a flashcard powerppoint, a video, and links to other resources. 

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Click for larger image.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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.

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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/summaries.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.

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/summaries.html Mon, 25 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

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/summaries.html Sat, 23 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

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/summaries.html Fri, 22 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

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.

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.

   

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/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

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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Glimpsing God http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by Keoni Cabral

Psalm 99:1-9

From the Reformer

We must think of no other God than Christ; that God which speaks not out of Christ’s mouth, is not God. God, in the Old Testament, bound himself to the throne of grace; there was the place where he would hear, so long as the policy and government of Moses stood and flourished. In like manner, he will still hear no man or human creature, but only through Christ. A number of the Jews ran to and fro burning incense, and offerings here and there, and seeking God in various places, not regarding the tabernacle, so it goes now; we seek God everywhere; but not seeking him in Christ, we find him nowhere.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

You may worship him in Zion or by the pillar of the camp or at his footstool or on the holy mountain or on the Mercy Seat itself! Where one worships, God is worshiped for two reasons: firstly, because adoration is due him, but secondly, because worship causes one to glimpse God in his glory. Seeing God as he truly is, draws one closer to God. That has, after all, always been his goal—to have you at his side.

This is why we are disciples and followers of Christ. We to be always by his side, beholding his holy glory.

Does the way you worship and therefore see God draw you close or distance you from the side of God?

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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The Further Shore http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by Chelle

Psalm 51:1–12

From the Reformer

…vindicating them from the hand of Pharaoh and from cruel bondage, [our Lord] paved a way for them through the Red Sea, and drowned Pharaoh himself and their Egyptian foes, who were pressing close behind, and threatening them with destruction. For in this way also he promises us in baptism, and shows by a given sign that we are led by his might, and delivered from the captivity of Egypt, that is, from the bondage of sin, that our Pharaoh is drowned; in other words, the devil, although he ceases not to try and harass us. But as that Egyptian was not plunged into the depth of the sea, but cast out upon the shore, still alarmed the Israelites by the terror of his look, though he could not hurt them, so our enemy still threatens, shows his arms and is felt, but cannot conquer.

—John Calvin, Institutes

Pulling It Together

It is God himself who provides that further shore of salvation. Indeed, he is the shore. You must rise up and go! The way is perilous and frightening and you will be told many times you cannot do it and that you will certainly drown in the difficulties. Yet, if in your journey, you have already taken hold of that Shore, and rest in his peace and the fullness of his joy, the harassment seems diminished, the threats hollow, and defeat impossible.

The course is plotted and behold! The Captain himself is in the boat with you, steering you to himself—always present yet bringing you toward a fuller presence.

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

 

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On the Run http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo from Wikipedia of a cave at Qumran similar to what David may have hidden within when hiding from Saul

Psalm 4:1–8

From the Reformer

It is uncertain at what time this psalm was composed. But from the tenor of it, it is conjectured, with probability, that David was then a fugitive and an exile. I therefore refer it to the time when he was persecuted by Saul. If, however, any person is disposed rather to understand it as referring to the time when he was compelled by the conspiracy of Absalom to secure his safety by flight, I will not greatly contend about the matter. But as, a little after, he uses an expression, namely, “How long?” (verse 3) which indicates that he had a lengthened struggle, the opinion which I have already brought forward is the more probable. For we know with what varied trials he was harassed, before he obtained complete deliverance, from the time when Saul began to be his enemy.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms

Pulling It Together

David was called to be the king of Israel yet was consigned to the wilderness instead of a palace, running from the present king and the whole army. “But God promised!” It is a familiar lament in modern times. One wants what he cannot as yet have and is expected to find her contentment in God. If David, in his distress, was expected to find, and was able to know peace and safety in God alone, what is you struggle meant to accomplish? Let God put gladness in your heart despite your suffering. He intends to give you more than you imagine in spite of the struggle—and perhaps because of that struggle. “Put your trust in the LORD.”

Sola Publishing offers Liturgical Calendars that chart 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. Order one for pastor, secretary,and sacristy. 

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The Right Focus http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

 Psalm 85:8-13

From the Reformer

13. The result of faith is that for such a great blessing, the forgiveness of sins because of Christ, we love God in return. Therefore, love for God is a fruit of faith.
14. This same faith causes us to be ashamed of having offended such a kind and generous father.
15. Therefore, it cause us to abhor our flesh with its evil desires.

—Philip Melancthon, Loci Communes Theologici

Pulling It Together

He was convinced that he was no good because he could not keep the commandments of God perfectly. He did well most days but then fell down sometimes. His mistake was that he focused on the falling. Focus on the Father instead of the fault and you will find you have his strength again and the fruits to match.

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 free, special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations.

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Prudence http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Psalm 32:1-11

From the Reformer

David, after enduring long and dreadful torments, when God was severely trying him, by showing him the tokens of his wrath, having at length obtained favor, applies this evidence of the divine goodness for his own benefit, and the benefit of the whole Church, that from it he may teach himself and them what constitutes the chief point of salvation. All men must necessarily be either in miserable torment, or, which is worse, forgetting themselves and God, must continue in deadly lethargy, until they are persuaded that God is reconciled towards them. Hence David here teaches us that the happiness of men consists only in the free forgiveness of sins, for nothing can be more terrible than to have God for our enemy; nor can he be gracious to us in any other way than by pardoning our transgressions.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms

Pulling It Together

This Psalm is a maskil of David. Maskil is a Hebrew word meaning someone who is sensible or prudent. In other words, a maskil is a teachable person. When the word maskil introduces a Psalm, it is typically considered a song that teaches a particular lesson.

This Psalm then, calls people to be sensible by acknowledging their sin. God’s hand will be heavy upon them until they do. Therefore, prudence dictates repentance because the one who stubbornly clings to his wrong ways will never be happy. The only way to be truly happy is to confess and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

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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A Fortune of Joy http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by Yousef T. Omar 

Psalm 126:1-6

From the Reformer

When he adds that they were glad, there is an implied antithesis between this fresh joy and the long continued sorrow with which they were afflicted in their captivity. He expressly declares that joy was restored to them, to enable them the better to estimate the dismal condition from which they had been extricated.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms

Pulling It Together

The local bank began offering 5% interest on checking accounts. Many certificates of deposit do not offer that much. You would have to be crazy not to switch to a bank that offered such earning potential on a checking account. But God goes further still. He does far more than restore fortunes. At the bank you have a minimum deposit and monthly requirements. God starts with your nothing and makes it a fortune. Just so, like a stream through a desert, God gives you a fortune of joy.

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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Let Go http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by seriousfun 

Isaiah 43:16-21

From the Reformer

God delights in our temptations, and yet hates them; he delights in them when they drive us to prayer; he hates them when they drive us to despair. The Psalm says: “An humble and contrite heart is an acceptable sacrifice to God,” etc. Therefore, when it goes well with you, sing and praise God with a hymn: goes it evil, that is, does temptation come, then pray: “For the Lord has pleasure in those that fear him;” and that which follows is better: “and in them that hope in his goodness,” for God helps the lowly and humble, seeing he says: “Thinkest thou my hand is shortened that I cannot help?” He that feels himself weak in faith, let him always have a desire to be strong therein, for that is a nourishment which God relishes in us.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

You are a sinner, besieged with temptation. The weight of it worries you. Perhaps, you wonder, it is not well with your soul. Let go of it; give it to God. Take a breath; calm down and pray. “Be still and know” that God is God. (Psa 46:10) “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him”…”In just a little while” you will see that he has carried the load all the while. (Psa 37:7, 10a) Have a little faith and the mountain will be lifted and thrown far away. God makes a way for you even in the most difficult situation. Even in the midst of what might cause despair, the person of faith may confidently proclaim that all is well; God is in control.

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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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.

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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.html Tue, 29 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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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/summaries.html Mon, 28 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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2 Timothy 3:1–5

From the Confessions: Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope 

Therefore, let the godly consider the great errors of the pope’s kingdom and his tyranny. Let them first consider that these errors must be rejected and true doctrine embraced for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Then let them also ponder how great a crime it is to support unjust cruelty in killing saints, whose blood God will undoubtedly avenge.

Pulling It Together

Even the power of God is seen most clearly in the true teaching of the First Article. It is observed more clearly in salvation through faith in Christ than in any other way. God accomplishes the salvation of human beings through a word, his own word. It does not happen because of our good works or religious services. It comes through a spoken word of promise: his promise, not ours to be better, but his to be our best. Unless we put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14), clothing ourselves in the living Word, forgiveness, justification, and eternal life will always lay far beyond our reach. Acting religious will never do; pretense of godliness is right up there on Paul’s list with pride and unholiness.

Prayer: Help me keep the company, Lord Jesus, of those who are in fellowship with you. 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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.

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. 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/summaries.html Tue, 15 Jan 19 00:00:00 -0600

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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/summaries.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.

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.

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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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.” 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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: 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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Merry Christmas http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 24 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600

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  Click for a recording of the Christmas story from Luke.

1 Now it came to pass in those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first census made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to register themselves, every one to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 to enrol himself with Mary, his betrothed, who was great with child. 6 And while they were there it happened that the days were fulfilled for her to give birth. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord was standing by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they feared a great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this is the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is delighted.”

15 And it followed that when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the matter that was told to them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary stored up each of these things, pondering them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as it was spoken to them.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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. 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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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/summaries.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.

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/summaries.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/summaries.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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Scripture Videos http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 03 Dec 18 00:00:00 -0600 Click to download video

These two, free, Scripture videos are a collection of verses from most books of the Old Testament and all books of the New. They are set to music and are suitable for worship (perhaps during the gathering, offering, passing of peace), teaching, and general edification.

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Old Testament Scripture Video (3:03, 110 MB)  • New Testament Scripture Video (3:23, 123 MB)

A YouTube playlist is also available. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for updates to the collection. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.html Wed, 28 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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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/summaries.html Tue, 27 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600

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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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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 6MB 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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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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Fun With the First Article http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 09 Nov 18 00:00:00 -0600 Click to visit SPLS website

The whole first article of the Apostles Creed, short enough in itself, can be summed up in two words. In the article, Christians confess, “We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” The two words are gift and when we pray, obligation.

Often enough, the gifts of God in creation are hidden amidst all the demands and duties of family life, jobs, and the requirements of citizenship. Generally, meals don’t arrive at the table already cooked. Though it can happen, children don’t just jump out of bed, eager for their responsibilities. Often enough, work is just that—a seemingly unending flow of things to be done, mixed up in amalgam of boredom and friction. Public life brings with it its own set of apparently unresolvable tensions. 

But every once in awhile, gifts peek through in an unmistakably gracious way. Young love, an older couple holding hands, a troubled child finally smoothing things out, freshly cut grass, even the sound of a distant train whistle provide reminders that there is something bigger than ourselves at work in things. And then when a sense of giftedness takes over gifts appear everywhere, even in the mundane things that can just as well pass without comment: good coffee, a children’s choir, a solitary whistler. 

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God the Father almighty, whom we name in confessing the creed, is biblically the giver of every good and perfect gift. We do not use the word 

“Father” as an analogy in comparison with our dads. Fine as they can be, they can also be awful, leaving people haunted. We speak of God as Father because Christ Jesus taught us to use this name. It wasn’t completely original with him. He knew as well as anyone that the heavenly Father can be as difficult to deal with as any earthly papa. But Christ Jesus made explicit the grace implicit in all the gifts of life. So he said, “When you pray, pray like this, ‘Our Father in heaven….’”  

So we pray, among other bids, “give us this daily bread.” As Martin Luther explains in his Small Catechism, when we make such a request we are not just asking for what’s on the table. We are asking that God will make us sensitive to and appreciative of all the gracious gifts with which God creates and sustains daily life.

We have to pray for this confidence because the other word essential to the first article of the creed has a way of sounding itself so loudly and continuously that soon that is all we hear. “Get up,” “make your bed,” “don’t forget your homework,” “you have to leave early because of the traffic,” “I want this done before you leave work,” “we can’t get this done without volunteers,” obligations compound themselves until they arrive one after another, seemingly without end.

They do so because we live in a community of neighbors who depend on us just as we depend on them. In fact, without obligations the gifts

don’t spread. Farmers seed and harvest, milk and muck, so that rest of us can eat. Teachers sit up in the evenings writing lesson plans and endure faculty meetings so that students learn something more than mischief. The gifts of everyday life arise out of the drudgery and delights of labor. The two go together, hand in hand.

So the First Article of the Creed requires the second. God the Father almighty sent his son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to put the obligations in their place, to take grace out of its harnesses and let it flow freely in his promises. That’s the Second Article and after that, there is a third, announcing the work of the Holy Spirit in and through you. The fun has just begun.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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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).

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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.

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 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/summaries.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/summaries.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/summaries.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 life. Either we pay for our sin, or God does. Either we die or he dies. No one else can ransom us. Because God desires all people be saved from this death, he sent his Son to be the required ransom for the world, each soul a captive to sin and death, but ransomed by the life of God’s Son.  

Prayer: Give me such grace, Lord, that I may grow in faith and truth. 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.

As we journey through the Advent season — a season of waiting and watching for the return of the Messiah — we prepare to celebrate his coming into the world long ago. This PDF booklet is for busy pastors who wish to offer midweek Advent services but don’t have a lot of time to invest in writing a sermon series. It provides an overarching theme with four related sermons on the topic “Jesus became.”

• Jesus became poor.
• Jesus became a slave.
• Jesus became sin.
• Jesus became the Savior.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 08 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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Romans 6:23

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

When indulgences began to rake in the money, and trade in these edicts became profitable, the pope devised the golden jubilee year, offering remission of all punishment and guilt, and assigned it to Rome. The people came running, because everyone was eager to be freed from this terrible, unbearable burden. In this, they meant to find and raise the treasures of the earth (Dan 11:43). Without delay, the pope went even further by multiplying the golden years one upon another. The more money he devoured, the wider grew his jaws.

Pulling It Together

Oh, that people would come running to Christ, who freely offers sublime peace through the full remission of sin and any penalty otherwise attached. Death is vanquished (1 Cor 15:54–55). The torment and deceit of the devil is discarded (Rev 20:10). These great gifts cost us nothing because they cost Christ everything.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your incomparable peace, through Jesus 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.

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/summaries.html Fri, 05 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Acts 8:20–22

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Here the Holy See in Rome came to the aid of the poor Church by inventing indulgences. Through these, it forgave and canceled satisfaction, first for seven years for a single instance, then for a hundred years. These indulgences were distributed among the cardinals and bishops so that they could grant indulgences for a hundred years, and for a hundred days. However, the pope reserved for himself alone the power to remit the entire satisfaction.

Pulling It Together

No one can earn the forgiveness of sin, either in whole or in part. Nor may it be bought—or sold. Further, it is not within the purview of the Church to grant partial forgiveness of sin, let alone lessen someone’s time in purgatory (as if such a place existed). God freely gives eternal life to all who believe in Christ Jesus. This is his promise, and one that he will not renege on by claiming some sin has not been indulged. Ironically, Scripture declares that those who insist this gift of God is for sale are the very ones who stand in need of repentance.

Prayer: I am grateful to you, Lord, that your righteousness covers all my sin. 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.

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/summaries.html Thu, 04 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 John 1:9

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Nevertheless, confidence was placed in our works of satisfaction. If the satisfaction could have been perfect, entire confidence would have been placed in it, and neither faith nor Christ would have been of any worth. But such confidence was impossible. For, even if one had done penance in this way for a hundred years, it would still be unknown whether that penance had been enough. This means forever performing penance yet never coming to repentance.

Pulling It Together

There is only one way to know you are forgiven. Believe the word of God. Has he promised to forgive us? Yes. Has he assured us that he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness? Yes. This does not mean that he will cleanse us a little bit, or that there are certain kinds of sins that will remain outside his power or will. God cleanses sinners who confess they are sinners. Period. Have you done something that you knew you should not have done? Have you said something that you knew should have remained unspoken? Have you thought about something that you should have put out of your mind right away? Of course, you have done all these things because you are a sinner. God will forgive you of these sins whether you meant to commit them or not. Indeed, he will forgive your very nature—your sinful nature, O child of Adam. Why will he do this? Because he has promised to do so, for Christ’s sake, not because you have done something to work off your sin. He forgives you, plainly and simply, because of Christ Jesus. 

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord God, a sinner redeemed by your Son. 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.

Not My Will, But Yours: A Bible Study on the Bound Will explores the theme of human bondage seen throughout Scripture. From the Old Testament examples of people held in slavery whom God came to set free, to the New Testament examples of Jesus healing illnesses and casting out demons, we witness the Lord’s power of deliverance. Ultimately, all these stories point to the greatest act of God’s redemption in the cross, where Christ rescued us from our captivity to the powers of sin, death, and the devil.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 03 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 15:54–57

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Here too, there was nothing but anguish and misery, as some thought that they would never get out of purgatory because the old teachings declared seven years of penance were required for a single mortal sin.

Pulling It Together

Imagine the distress of a woman who longs to be with her husband but who has been told she will not see him again for another 50 years. Reunion is a lifetime away! Now, imagine a person who longs to be with Jesus. She has been told she will not only wait throughout this life, but then, have to continue waiting after death, for an indeterminate length of time in a purgatory. This is downright cruel—and false.

Victory over sin and death is not a matter of working off sins—let alone seven years of work for a single sin. Jesus has conquered our sin, triumphed over death. There is nothing left for us to do in this life or the next. Jesus has done it all. Believe that (have faith in him) and be at peace with God.  

Prayer: Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen.

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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/summaries.html Tue, 02 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 John 2:1–2

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Satisfaction was by far the most perplexing part of all, for no one could know how much to render for a single sin, not to say how much for all. Here they have resorted to the method of imposing a small satisfaction, which could certainly be rendered, such as five Our Fathers, a day’s fast, etc. They were directed to purgatory for what remained lacking in their repentance.

Pulling It Together

We know exactly how much is to be rendered for a single sin and for all sin. Christ Jesus is the sum. He is the only means by which we may be reconciled to God. We were never meant to imagine that we have something else to do, some religious act that fills in the balance of Christ’s atonement for us. There is nothing lacking in his sacrifice for our sins. So, when you sin, have faith that Jesus has done everything necessary to satisfy God’s justice.

Prayer: Help me keep your commands, Lord God, especially the command to believe. 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 Proverbs 31 Woman is a nine-session study that gives a realistic look into the lives of a number of biblical women, both from the Old and New Testaments. Each chapter is based on a specific theme from Proverbs 31, and looks at how it was exemplified in that woman's life story.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 01 Oct 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Psalm 25:6–7

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

It was imagined that such humility would certainly earn grace before God. Yet here also, there was neither faith nor Christ. The righteousness in absolution was not declared, for consolation depended on the enumeration of sins and self-abasement. We cannot recount all the torture, misconduct, and idolatry such confession has produced.

Pulling It Together

God does not base his forgiveness of our sin on human effort or religious devotion. Rather, God has forgiven all our sin from the earliest day until the present. Why has he been so merciful toward us, we may ask, knowing full well that we are sinners? He loves us with this merciful, forgiving grace because of his own goodness—not our goodness. If forgiveness depended on our goodness, we would despair at our unrighteousness and be utterly lost. Because it depends upon his goodness, we may be at peace, knowing that we are absolutely righteous (2 Cor 5:21) for Christ’s sake—because of his goodness instead of our own.

Prayer: Forgive me, O Lord, for the sake of your goodness. 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/summaries.html Sat, 29 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Luke 7:48–50

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The procedure for confession was this: Everyone had to itemize all their sins—an impossible ordeal. Forgotten sins were absolved on the condition that they were confessed when remembered. Therefore, one could never know whether a sufficiently pure confession had been made or if it would ever have an end. So, the one confessing was steered to personal action, assured that a fuller confession and further humiliation and debasement before the priest would render satisfaction for sins.

Pulling It Together

Where is Christ in this procedure? Does the endless enumeration of sins leave any room for him? Our sins seem infinite when we consider our thoughts, words, and deeds: the things we think, and say, and do; the things we should have thought, should have done, and should have said. We ought to be truly sorry for these sins, but when the focus is on recalling individual sins instead of remembering that we have a Savior, there can be no peace with God. One will always be left with uncertainty, with the sense that not all has been confessed and that there has been insufficient remorse. This is the result of being absorbed with self, one’s sins, and the desire to overcome them on our own. If we were half so captivated by Christ, we would gladly trust him when he says, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Prayer: Forgive me, O God, 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 Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes a limited selection 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/summaries.html Fri, 28 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Acts 2:37–39

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 89

Here we see how blind reason fumbles about in matters pertaining to God, seeking consolation by its own works and imagination, unable to consider Christ and faith. If we observe such contrition in the light, we see that it is manufactured, fictitious idea, resulting from people’s own powers, without faith and without knowledge of Christ. A poor sinner reflecting on his own lust and desire for revenge, would sometimes laugh rather than weep, unless he had either been truly struck by the Law, or had been hopelessly tormented with a troubled spirit by the devil. Otherwise, such contrition was undoubtedly mere hypocrisy. It did not kill the lust for sins. That person should have been sorry, yet if free to do so, he would rather have continued to sin.

Pulling It Together

Repentance and confession are not things we do simply because it is that time of the week. These things happen when we have a heartfelt sadness for sin. That sorrow is not something we contrive out of religious or civil fear. It happens because the Holy Spirit has cut us to the heart, hitting us as with a hammer with the Word of God (Jer 23:29), stunning us, and dropping us to our knees. In that position of the heart, we may look up to Christ with true, repentant faith, and know that he forgives us.

Prayer: Search me, O God, know my heart, and find the wicked way in 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 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/summaries.html Thu, 27 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Isaiah 43:25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 88

When any said that they were unable to repent or be sorry for their sins (as might have occurred in illicit love or the desire for revenge, etc.), they were asked if they wished or desired to have contrition. If they replied, “yes” (for who, save the devil himself, would here say “no”?), they accepted this as contrition, and forgave their sins on account of this good work. Here they cited the example of St. Bernard, etc.

Pulling It Together

I suppose the desire to repent should be considered a good thing. However, basing the forgiveness of sin on this aspiration or on any other so-called good work is not good news. It is not the gospel. Nor are contrition and confession the basis of for the remission of sin. Christ Jesus is the source of forgiveness. Faith in the good work of God in Christ is the only sufficient source of and reason for absolution. From this faith in Christ flow repentance, confession, and all other good works; but those good works are not the reason God forgives us. He forgives us for Christ’s sake, not because of our religious actions. 

Prayer: Declare me righteous, God, through your grace alone because of the faith you have given me in your Son Jesus 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.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. 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. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 26 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 John 2:2

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Moreover, since no one could know how great the contrition must be in order for it to be sufficient before God, they provided the following consolation. If you cannot be contrite, you should at least have attrition, which I might call halfway contrite or beginning to be contrition. They have never understood these terms, nor do they understand them now any more than I do. Still, such attrition was considered a substitute for contrition when a person went to confession.

Pulling It Together

Again, the object of this kind of religion is self; it is about how much devotion or how many deeds a person can muster. Further, will that be enough to appease God’s wrath? Can one be sorrowful enough and offer enough penitential deeds to offset the sin? This sort of religion is futile. One can never be sorry enough or do enough. Never! Not in a million lifetimes. Yet, Christ alone is God’s satisfaction for billions of lives. He is the propitiation for the sins of a whole world, for those who believe in Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being my righteous advocate with your Father. 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, 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. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 25 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Psalm 103:12

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Contrition was done this way. Since no one could remember every sin (especially all those committed throughout an entire year), they provided this way out: if an unremembered sin should come to light, it must also be repented of and confessed, etc. Meanwhile they were commended to the grace of God.

Pulling It Together

Here is the tormenting question that will beset a soul: Have I been contrite enough? Who could possibly say? How does one quantify contrition? Further, how can one be contrite for sins they do not even recall? Even more, if one cannot remember them, how do they really know they are forgiven?

So, the heart of the matter, the real question that must be answered, is whether God forgives us because of our faith in Jesus or because we have jumped through all the required religious hoops. I pity those who think they must somehow be measurably contrite in order to be justified to God. No wonder they are commended to God’s grace, for their consciences will be forever tormented.

Prayer: Thank you for your grace that covers all my sin. 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.

If you are a pastor or Council member, you know it is budget preparation time for the coming year. Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your benevolence. You may also securely donate as an individual by clicking the red donate button above. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 24 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Galatians 2:16

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

There was no mention here of Christ or faith. Instead, people hoped to overcome and blot out sins before God by their own works. It was with this intention we became priests and monks: that we might organize ourselves against sin.

Pulling It Together

The object of our faith is Christ, not our works of the law. We are justified by faith in him, not by striving to be better. That would be putting faith in our own deeds instead of in the goodness and justice of Christ. This is why Luther stated his famous words: “Christ alone.” We are saved by faith in Christ alone. Should we strive to be holy for lifetimes, yet without faith in Christ, we could not be saved. Moreover, people may have faith in Christ, yet for their lifetimes know they are sinners, and nevertheless, be saved into eternal life. Such is the weight of God’s grace to people who have faith in his Christ.

Prayer: Help me live my life, O God, by faith in your Son. 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 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/summaries.html Sat, 22 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Job 19:25–27

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The scholastic theologians break down repentance into three parts: contrition, confession, and satisfaction. To these they add the consolation and promise that if someone truly repents, confesses, and renders satisfaction, he has earned forgiveness of sins, and paid for them before God. Therefore, in their doctrine of repentance they instruct people to place confidence in their own works. This is where the expression comes from that is used in the pulpit when public absolution was announced to the people: “Prolong my life, O God, until I make satisfaction for my sins and amend my life.”

Pulling It Together

I do not need to earn my salvation or prove, somehow, that I will do better. God is not subordinate to my actions, as though I need to do anything for him to be disposed to me in a favorable way. God is merciful to me for Christ’s sake, not for the sake of my religious acts of penance or devotion.

Nevertheless, I am nearly crushed by the weight of my sin. I know fully well that I am a sinner, but I also know something else, something far more wondrous. I know that my Redeemer lives. So, I will set my faith in him against all my sin and against all the accusations of the law. God does what he promises, and his Redeemer Christ is the fulfillment of his promise. I and my religious posturing are not.

Prayer: I put all my trust in you, 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 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/summaries.html Fri, 21 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 2:17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

As a result, people did penance only for actual sins, such as wicked thoughts they yielded to (for wicked feelings, lust, and improper inclinations that they did not consider sins), and for wicked words and wicked deeds, which free will could have easily avoided.

Pulling It Together

This is a superficial, thoroughly human, way of looking at sin—one that leaves the conscience troubled and rarely at peace with God. It demands people be focused on their specific sins, instead of upon the fact that they are sinners even when they are not sinning. The former has people trying to escape punishment; the latter has them turning to the Savior.

Prayer: Give me, Lord, the peace that passes understanding. 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 Wise Economy of Your Life, Balancing Your Time & Money shows how to practice the principles of God’s economy as revealed in the Scriptures, leading to wise “spending," and creating more freedom and versatility in your life. This study booklet is intended as a basis for group discussion and contains a list of Scripture verses to supplement each chapter.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 20 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 6:25–33

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Concerning the False Repentance of the Papists

It was impossible for them to teach correctly about repentance because they did not know the real sin. For, as shown above, they did not rightly believe the doctrine of original sin, but insisted that people’s natural powers have remained unimpaired and incorrupt—that reason is able to rightly understand, that the will is able to act accordingly, and that God undoubtedly bestows his grace to people when they do as much as possible with their free will.

Pulling It Together

Simply put: if you are acting in your own power, relying upon yourself to be a good person, you are sunk. From the moment you were born, you have never been good enough—if that were what was necessary—to merit eternal life. You have always been a sinner (Rom 5:19). From the outset, all you have ever cared about is yourself. What will you eat next? What will you wear? These are the ultimate concerns of human nature: that “old man” (Col 3:9).

The new person is not bent upon self, but instead, inclined to the things of God and his kingdom. The old self is dead from the get-go, while the new self is always being renewed in God. It does not look to its own will but to God’s will (Matt 6:10). The regenerated person does not depend upon its own filthy righteousness (Isa 64:6) but upon the righteousness of God. The Lord alone is our righteousness (Jer 23:6) and this only comes to us through faith in God’s Christ (Eph 2:8-9; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21), not by the work of the human will.

Prayer: Thy will be done. Amen.

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The Lord's Prayer is a seven 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/summaries.html Wed, 19 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 27:3–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Whenever the law exercises its function alone, without the gospel being added, there is only death and hell, and people must despair, like Saul and Judas. St. Paul says, the law kills through sin (Rom 7:10). On the other hand, the gospel brings consolation and forgiveness in more ways than one, for with the Lord there is bountiful redemption (as Psalm 130:7 says) from the dreadful captivity of sin, available through the Word and Sacraments and the like, as we shall soon hear.

For now, we must contrast the false repentance of the sophists (the scholastic theologians) with true repentance, so that both may be the better understood.

Pulling It Together

Judas sold out Jesus, his rabbi and Lord, for thirty pieces of silver. Would his Lord not forgive him for doing so? Of course, Jesus would forgive his disciple; he loved him. But all Judas could hear was the accusation of the law. In the despair of its condemnation, he could not hear his Lord’s word of grace.

Peter denied even knowing Jesus, and left him to suffer and die alone. If all Peter heard was the law, he too would have lost hope. Peter, however, did not simply hear the law hammering in his ears; he heard the gospel ringing in his heart. Though Peter had done something terrible and heartless, he knew the true heart of Christ. He believed his Lord’s promise of forgiveness, confessed his error, repented, and so, remained in faith. Had he been left to his own devices, he could not have recovered from so grievous a betrayal, and subjected himself to a similar fate as Judas, whether bodily, or emotionally and spiritually.

Prayer: Give me such faith in you, O Lord, that my despair always runs to your Word and promise of grace. 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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 18 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Ephesians 2:8

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Preceding Christ, John is called a preacher of repentance, yet for the forgiveness of sins. That is, John was to accuse everyone, convincing them that they were sinners, so that they would know who they were before God, and acknowledge that they were lost. This is how they would be prepared to receive grace from the Lord, and to expect and accept from him forgiveness of sins. Christ himself says, “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:47).

Pulling It Together

Knowledge of one’s sin is necessary but it is insufficient for salvation. Repentance from sin is also indispensable but regret and penance combined will not do for salvation. Knowledge and confession of sin, and remorse and repentance are what prepare us for God’s grace. His grace, however, is only apprehended by faith in Christ—not faith in what we do, such as confession and repentance.

Prayer: Convince me of my sin, Lord, and give me faith to believe. 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.

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/summaries.html Mon, 17 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Acts 2:38

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The New Testament immediately adds the consoling promise of grace through the gospel to the function of the law. This must be believed, as Christ declares: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). That is, become different, do otherwise, and believe my promise.

Pulling It Together

It is no accident that the gospels follow directly after the Old Testament. The offer of God’s grace must always follow on the teaching of the law. Wherever the law is taught, accusations and guilt will follow. If left there, people will wallow in despair. So, the gospel, God’s promise of grace and forgiveness through Christ, must follow. That grace is received by turning to God in confession and repentance. You may not become a pious person as soon as you would have liked—or ever—but you are now changed because you admit God’s Word is true, that you are a sinner in need of the Savior. And that is the truest piety.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord God, a sinner redeemed by 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.

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/summaries.html Sat, 15 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 3:10–12

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

In the beginning of true repentance, people must hear such statements as this: You are all of no account. Whether you are obvious sinners or think you are saints, you must each become different than you are now and do otherwise than you are now doing—even if you imagine you are great, wise, powerful, and holy. Here no one is godly, etc.

Pulling It Together

No one is exempt; all are born in sin and captivated by it, until they have faith. Even then, the forgiveness of God is necessary, for saints are still sinners. But here is the difference: they are repentant sinners. In the midst of their sin, they seek God. They desire his righteousness to be their own, and so, confess their own unrighteousness and sin. In this way, saints are no longer enslaved to sin, and are saved from death and the devil, for Christ’s sake.

Prayer: Forgive me, God, a sinner, but redeemed by 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.

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/summaries.html Fri, 14 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 13:11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This, then, is the thunderbolt of God that devastates open sinners and false saints alike, tolerating no one to be righteous, but driving all to terror and despair. This is the hammer that Jeremiah speaks of: “Is not my word…like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jer 23:29). This is not activa contritio or manufactured repentance, but passiva contritio — true sorrow of the heart, suffering, and threat of death.

Pulling It Together

God uses his law to demolish the false righteousness of so-called saints and sinners too. He uses his Word to awaken us from the death of spiritual sleep. The effect is not that of a gentle alarm clock but rather, a jackhammer that jolts us into consciousness. It wakes up the conscience and causes us to sense who we truly are: wholly unrighteous beings standing before the holiness of God. The religious are no more exempt from this sudden terror of conscience than are arrogant sinners. Even original sin must be repented of daily; it is an act of wakefulness, of awareness. When God’s Word, his hammer, brings a person to this place of contrition, salvation is nearer than they suspect.

Prayer: Bring the hammer of your Word, Lord, and awaken 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 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/summaries.html Thu, 13 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Luke 18:13

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article III. Of Repentance

The New Testament maintains and teaches this function of the law, as St. Paul does, saying: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men” (Rom 1:18). Again, “that…the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no human being will be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:19). And Christ says that the Holy Spirit “will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

Pulling It Together

The law’s job is to reveal sin and the wrath of God, and to convict the world of its unrighteousness and the judgment to come. That office is not closed. People still need to know about sin and judgment. The grace of God is not welcome without a keen conviction of unrighteousness. Indeed, the Holy Spirit uses the law for this very purpose.

Some people claim innocence, and some that there is no divine law to be kept. Their sin and ignorance will find them in the end. May it find them sooner, so that each may confess with the tax man, I am a sinner! For that revelation is part of God’s mercy and the beginning of a flow of grace.  

Prayer: God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner! 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.

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/summaries.html Wed, 12 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 6:61–63

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

But the chief purpose or power of the law is to reveal original sin with all its consequences, and show us how very low our nature has fallen, that it has become utterly corrupted. The law, therefore, must inform people that they neither have nor care for God, or worship other gods, a matter which before and without the law they could not have believed. So, they become terrified, humbled, despondent, despairing, and anxiously desire aid, but see no solution. They begin to be an enemy of God, to complain, etc. This is what Paul says: “The Law brings wrath” (Rom 4:15) and, “Law came in, to increase the trespass” (Rom 5:20).

Pulling It Together

The law is always there to terrify consciences. The terror is so complete and overpowering that we have nowhere to turn, not even to ourselves. Keeping the law is no answer. For who can do so? The harder we try, the more it accuses. If we depend upon works of the law, we are undone. Who could ever be certain of keeping the law or of being, as people say, “good enough”?

There are four responses to this human dilemma. One, try harder. But, as we have said, this only brings more accusation and more despair, as there is no advantage in our nature. Two, give up. Three, become calloused and even scarred, having contempt for all things divine or even merely religious. Four, turn for help to a nature and power beyond ourselves.

Prayer: Draw me close to you, Lord. Amen.

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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/summaries.html Tue, 11 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Ephesians 2:4–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Others become blind and arrogant, having the opinion that they can and do keep the law by their own powers, as was said above about the scholastic theologians. This is how hypocrites and false saints are produced.

Pulling It Together

Justification always comes through faith in God’s gracious promises in Christ. Being right with God is never a result of one’s devotion to God. The opposite is the case on two levels. One, the blindest and most arrogant people are created when they believe their righteous standing before God is the result of their piety. I once knew a woman who never sinned. That is what she insisted. Blinded by her own goodness, she no longer had use for the Savior. Two, justification comes to us because of God’s devotion to us—not the reverse.

Prayer: I need you, Jesus, because I am a sinner. 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/summaries.html Mon, 10 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 7:21

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III, Article II: Of the Law

Here we assert that the law was given by God, first, to curb sin by threats and fear of punishment, and also by the promise and offer of grace and benefit. All of this failed because of the wickedness that sin has produced in man. Some then became worse, namely those who hate the law because it prohibits what they like to do, and commands what they do not like to do. Therefore, wherever they are not curbed by punishment, they break the law more than before. These are those rude and wicked people who do evil whenever they have an opportunity.

Pulling It Together

Let us be clear. We are all sinners, saved by the grace of God. Sin has produced a world of wickedness in a single human heart, let alone in all of humanity. But thanks be to God that we may be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. This is not our own doing; salvation does not come through keeping the law. God’s grace is a free gift, given to the world he loves (John 3:16). Those who believe will not perish no matter how much the law accuses and condemns. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).

Prayer: Lord, give me the strength of your Spirit, that I may not be an arrogant sinner. 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 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/summaries.html Sat, 08 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Galatians 2:20–21

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 72

These and many similar fictions have resulted from misunderstanding and ignorance concerning both sin and Christ, our Savior. These things are truly heathen doctrines, which we cannot endure. If this teaching is correct, then Christ has died in vain, since there would be no defect or sin in the human race for which Christ should have died. Or, he would have died only for the body, but not for the soul, inasmuch as the soul is sound, and only the body is subject to death.

Pulling It Together

It is not in our nature to love God or do good. That old nature must die, so that a new nature may be formed in us—a righteous nature given to us, one that may love God. Working at it will not make us God fearing or good people. We must be given a new life and being, a righteousness through faith. If it were otherwise, Scripture is untrue, and Christ has died for no reason whatsoever.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the faith to believe. 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.

Journey Through the Bible is a twenty-session series written by Tony Stoutenburg, intended as a video study guide for watching the made-for-television miniseries, "The Bible" — a ten-part video available on DVD and Blueray. (Note: For those who do not have access to “The Bible” Miniseries, it is certainly possible to substitute other videos or clips to tell the same stories. The classroom portion of this book also can be used as a stand-alone, 10-session study.)

Alternating between classroom discussion and video viewing sessions, the goal is to visually expose students to the stories of the full Biblical narrative across the Old and New Testaments. The curriculum is aimed at the middle-school age level for use as an introductory pre-confirmation Bible overview or as a year-long Confirmation unit. (Click HERE to purchase the Leader's Guide.)

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 07 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 15:5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

7. That it is not found in Scripture that the Holy Spirit and his grace are necessary for the doing of a good work.

Pulling It Together

We may do some good on our own. For example, our own free will may be at work in civil matters. We may determine whether or not we will pay our taxes or stop when the light is red or if we will provide some service to our country. These are not spiritual matters; they have nothing to do with rebirth. God is necessary for our doing anything that is called good when it goes beyond mere civil works.

We can do no good apart from God. This is clear enough in Scripture. All we do that is good, flows from the Spirit of God who lives within us (Rom 8:9). We cannot love the Father or keep the other commandments without Christ’s help. What is more, we would not claim to be able to, as the notion that one can do these truly good works on his own, points to the deeper belief that doing so earns one some favor with God. The person who believes God is behind his good works would not then claim responsibility and recognition for those works. That would be tantamount to saying, You did this but I deserve the credit. Anyone who claims that she is able to do good works is really only wanting favor from God (and neighbor) for doing them. Luther was teaching us what Scripture clearly says, along with the underlying precept, that God is deserving of all our praise and honor.

Prayer: I want to live in and through you, Lord. 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/summaries.html Thu, 06 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 11:27–30

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

6. Again, if one wishes to go to the Sacrament, there is no need of an intention to do good, but it is sufficient if there is no wicked intention to commit sin, since human nature is entirely good and the Sacrament so able to produce its result.

Pulling It Together

You will recall that we are dealing with theological errors that Luther refuted in his “Smalcald Articles.” We have seen that these errors were largely due to being in conflict with the chief article: “That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification.” These benefits are received by faith, otherwise it is not Christ’s dying and rising that makes the difference. We continue.

Like all things, faith must be worked in, else the Word is not present. The Word and its promises may be spoken throughout the service of worship but if it is not heard with ears of faith, the forgiveness of sins is withheld. The Word is not a magical incantation that is effective whether you wish it to be or not. It must be received with faith; otherwise, the wine is simply wine, and the bread merely bread, and the one who eats and drinks, only an unforgiven sinner who would have duped God.

Because faith is present, there is an intention to cease from sin and do good. We come to the altar, asking the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins, not his permission to persist at sinning. Be careful though, lest you begin to think that your good works and morality are why you are forgiven. You are forgiven through faith in Christ alone. But that faith — real faith — desires to do God’s will. True faith is not present if the intention is to remain faithless.

Prayer: Help me examine myself so that I may earnestly eat and drink. 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.

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/summaries.html Wed, 05 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 3:21–22 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

3. Again, that people are able by their natural powers to observe and keep all the commandments of God.

4. Again, that by their natural powers, people are able to love God above all things and their neighbors as themselves.

5. Again, if people do as much as they can, God will certainly grant them his grace.

Pulling It Together

We have already seen how human nature is not equal to the task. But even if some person is able to live a perfectly sinless life, that person was born into sin (original sin), and so, remains a sinner. No one is exempt (Rom 3:23). Moreover, the ability to be sinless — which again, no one has — is not a virtue that earns them favor with God. There is no such human virtue. There is nothing in human nature, abilities, intentions, or accomplishments that moves God to grant people his grace. It is his love for humanity that moves him to freely offer his grace, yet also justly so, forgiving and making righteous those who have faith in Christ (Rom 3:26).

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for I am a sinner. 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.

Journey Through the Bible is a twenty-session series written by Tony Stoutenburg, intended as a video study guide for watching the made-for-television miniseries, "The Bible" — a ten-part video available on DVD and Blueray. (Note: For those who do not have access to “The Bible” Miniseries, it is certainly possible to substitute other videos or clips to tell the same stories. The classroom portion of this book also can be used as a stand-alone, 10-session study.)

Alternating between classroom discussion and video viewing sessions, the goal is to visually expose students to the stories of the full Biblical narrative across the Old and New Testaments. The curriculum is aimed at the middle-school age level for use as an introductory pre-confirmation Bible overview or as a year-long Confirmation unit. (Click HERE to purchase the Leader's Guide.)

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 04 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 2:14–16

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 68

2. Again, that people have free will to do good and avoid doing evil, and on the other hand, to refrain from good and do evil.

Pulling It Together

People are able to choose to do some good but they are incapable of being good. Likewise, they are able to leave off from doing some evil, while remaining incapable of not being being sinners. This is rooted in original sin. People begin life dead in their sins, and continue through life in one after another outright trespasses against God’s will and Word. They are helpless to do otherwise. One example from the greatest commandment will suffice. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut 6:6). Or perhaps you prefer the Greek version: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). You cannot do it without God’s help. Who loves the Lord with a whole heart? No one. We cannot perfectly love God, so we ask him in the liturgy for the grace to do so. The rebirthed mind of Christ comprehends sin and the need of God’s grace. The natural person is simply hell-bent on being good—or not.

Prayer: Help me see my need for you, Lord. 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. This 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/summaries.html Mon, 03 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Isaiah 50:4-5, 10

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Therefore, what the scholastic theologians have taught regarding this article is nothing but error and blindness, namely:

1. That since the fall of Adam the natural powers of humankind have remained entire and uncorrupted, and that, by nature, they have sound reason and a good will, as the philosophers teach.

Pulling It Together

Though this passage in Isaiah depicts the coming Messiah, it may also be seen as a model for the godly life. Within it, we see that human beings have the capacity to learn and to think. They may learn to fear, love, and trust God. Yet, though they have the capacity, it must be developed by the grace of God. When convicted of their darkness and sin, they may find light and life only when the Lord opens their ears to hear his Word. When they trust him instead of their own reasoning, be calls them from their darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9). 

Prayer: Incline my ear to your Word, Lord, that I may find light, and life, and rest in you. 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.

      

Sola Publishing carries four workbooks to help you with house church and small group ministry. Rev. Tom Hilpert's Experiencing Life Together is a 15-week curriculum designed for those who want to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of participants. Rev. Stéphane Kalonji'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 also an excellent tool for evangelism.

Experiencing Life Together   • Come and See!   • Go and Tell!   • Dwell in My Love!

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Sat, 01 Sep 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 16:17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This hereditary sin is so deep a corruption of nature that it cannot be understand with reason. It must be believed from the revelation of the Scriptures (Psa 51:5; Rom 6:12ff; Exod 33:3; Gen 3:7ff).

Pulling It Together

The kingdom of God cannot be stormed by reason. Human reason is strong but it cannot bring itself to believe in the unseen, the unprovable. Moreover, human nature is blind to itself. A man may eventually yield to his own wrongdoing because of its sheer repetition, but then say, It wasn’t so bad, or Who did it harm? Or perhaps he does not even view his offenses as sin. He is merely trying to relieve his guilt when he proclaims, Sin is just a construct of religion. Reason brings us all to this terrible place. It locks the door on this self-centered prison where guilt festers and the lies are multiplied. Only God is able to break us free.

By God’s grace alone, we are enabled to come out of our cells and into the light. His grace provides us with the faith necessary to believe the unbelievable. And what is more unbelievable than that sinners like us may be forgiven, made righteous, and be loved by the Father of lights (James 1:17)? Such faith is the foundation of the Father’s family.

Prayer: Give me faith, Lord, by 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.

Where Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 31 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Exodus 20:1

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The fruits of this sin are the ensuing evil deeds that are forbidden in the Ten Commandments, such as unbelief, false faith, idolatry, being without the fear of God, presumption, despair, blindness, and in short, not knowing or regarding God — and further: lying, swearing by God’s name, not praying or calling upon God, disregard for God’s Word, disobedience to parents, murder, unchastity, thievery, deceit, and so forth.

Pulling It Together

Near the beginning, Adam and Eve paid no attention to what God spoke. He told them that they may eat of all manner of things in the garden of Eden, but that they must not eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So, what did they do? Yes, they ate of that tree but of more import, they did not listen. They gave the Lord no heed, and the result was sin.

This sin is a sin we all share. At our sinful core, we do not care what God says. We — each and all — neglect God’s Word. Without his grace, we would have nothing to do with it — or him. The result of this old Adam within us, is a profusion of sin which we must drown with daily repentance and sorrow, putting it to death so that under the promise of Christian baptism, the new Adam (Eph 2:14–16) may continue to rise up and live before God in the righteousness and purity Christ provides through forgiveness and sanctification.

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that I may continue to believe in 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.

Connections magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 30 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 5:12

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Part III. Article I. Concerning Sin.

1. Here we must confess, as Paul says in Romans 5:12, that sin came from one man, Adam, by whose disobedience all people became sinners, and subject to death and the devil. This is called original or prime sin.

Pulling It Together

The prime sin, which brought all sin into the world, is a hereditary sin, making us all sinners, persons with a built-in desire to sin. We look at newborn babies and wonder how such a thing can be. We know it to be so, not because we have witnessed every so-called perfect little baby whom we have ever known to grow up and become an expert sinner, but because this original sin is revealed to us in the Scriptures (Psa 51:5; Jer 17:9; John 8:7; Rom 7:18–19, 23; 1 John 1:8–10). Sin abounds, not only in the world, but in each person. All this, and death too, is a result of one sin of disobedience by one man, on one day a very long time ago. 

Prayer: Lead me to, and keep me in, faith in you, O 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.

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/summaries.html Wed, 29 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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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.

Sola Publishing offers Liturgical Calendars that chart 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. Order one for pastor, secretary,and sacristy. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 28 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Ephesians 1:11–12

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 62

We will not stand at this council before an emperor or a secular magistrate, as at Augsburg, where the emperor published a courteous summons, and caused matters to be considerately heard. Now we will stand before the pope and the devil himself, who intends to hear nothing, but merely condemn, murder, and force us into idolatry. Therefore, here we should not kiss his feet, or say, “You are my gracious lord,” but speak as the angel in Zechariah spoke to Satan: “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan!” (Zech 3:2).

Pulling It Together

Luther knew well where these charges came from, praying the Lord’s censure of Satan. This simply means Luther recognized that, though the devil was behind it, the Lord was in control. This is a sound reason for us to have hope and trust in the midst of our fears and anxieties. There are many things in life that would reduce us to trembling and ineffective faithlessness. But God is in control, using even things we wished had never occurred to his own purposes. We usually do not understand how—and we surely wish we did not have to experience it—but we may, nevertheless, go through any ordeal, trusting God with our futures.

Prayer: See me through this day, O Lord, with trust in you and therefore, peace. 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.

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/summaries.html Mon, 27 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Revelation 22:20–21

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The Council will have enough to condemn in these four articles, as they cannot and will not concede to us even the least point in one of these articles. We should be certain of this, and stir up the hope of Christ within us: that our Lord has attacked his adversary, and will prevail by both his Spirit and coming. Amen.

Pulling It Together

If we are looking for things to go our way in a public election, in the choice of a church leader, or in an assembly’s vote, we should not get our hopes up. Despite the outcome, our hope remains the same. When things do not turn out the way we would have them, we must remember where our real hope lies. Edward Mote wrote these encouraging words of reminder: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Jesus reigns—not councils, assemblies, polls, and courts. All is not finished because of a Church Council’s decisions. The world has not come to an end because a pastoral search did not end with the call you would have made. Would that this world would come to an end over such a thing. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

Prayer: Jesus, Conqueror, be Lord of my 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.

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/summaries.html Fri, 24 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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2 Peter 2:1–3

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Lastly, it is nothing less than diabolical for the pope to insist on his falsehoods concerning masses, purgatory, the monastic life, human works and services (the essence of the papacy), which are over and against God, while condemning, murdering, and torturing all Christians who do not applaud and honor these abominations above all things. Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, are we able to endure his apostle, the pope or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord. For deceit, murder, and the eternal destruction of body and soul are what his papal government really consists of, as I have very clearly shown in many books.

Pulling It Together

There is no teaching more false, no heresy more despicable, than for a representative of the Church to teach that salvation comes in any other manner than by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ. Distorting scriptural truth for one’s own pleasure and glory, or for the building of an institution or empire, is the fundamental nature of false gospels and religion. We have been warned to be on the watch for this sort of exploitation in the Church. But how does one spot this treachery? Look for blasphemy.

False teachers promote themselves instead of Jesus. They may use his words but they twist them to their own ends. If they promote any other way of salvation than faith in God’s grace alone, they deny the very one who redeemed them. Beware.

Prayer: Help me to pray, Lord, with my eyes wide open. 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.

God's Reluctant Leaders is a nine-session Bible Study that 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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 23 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 5:39–40

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

When we distinguish the pope’s teaching from, and compare it to Holy Scripture, it is clear that the pope’s teaching, at best, has been taken from the pagan law of the empire. It deals with political matters, judgments, and rights, as the decretals show. Consequently, it teaches about ceremonies of the churches, vestments, food, staff, and numerous other trivial, theatrical, and comical things. In all these things, nothing at all is mentioned about Christ, faith, and the commandments of God.

Pulling It Together

Sola Christus (Christ alone) was a predominant teaching of the Reformation. It should still be the foremost teaching of the Church today, as Christ is the central teaching of Scripture, and because the Church should always be reforming (Ecclesia semper reformanda est). Reformation happens when Christ is the chief teaching of the church. When matters of performance and concerns over procedure are dominant, they can eventually be considered central to salvation. Sola Christus means that salvation is located in Christ alone, not in mundane civil, or even religious, concerns.

Prayer: Reform your Church, O Lord, through Christ 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 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/summaries.html Wed, 22 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Luke 22:24–27

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 58

All this is a result of the pope desiring to be called the supreme head of the Christian Church by divine right. Accordingly, he had to make himself equal to and higher than Christ, then proclaimed the head of the Church, then her lord, and finally of the whole world—an earthly god who has even dared to issue commands to the angels in heaven.

Pulling It Together

The priesthood of believers (1 Pet 2:5, 9) leaves no room for airs, for the pretense of one Christian being greater than another. When this happens, the Church will squabble, as any family would in such circumstances, and be of no use to God. So, Jesus demonstrated how the greatest in the kingdom is really the one we would least expect. The greatest is the servant of all. No one has been the servant of all save Jesus, who came to earth to serve by giving his life as ransom (Mark 10:45) in order to create a kingdom of priests before God (Rev 5:9).

Prayer: Give me a towel and a heart to serve, 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.

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/summaries.html Tue, 21 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Acts 4:11–12

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Even the Turks and the Tartars, opposed to Christians as they are, do not do this, but permit those who believe in Christ, and receive physical tribute and obedience from Christians. The pope, however, will not permit this faith, saying that people must obey him in order to be saved. This we are unwilling to do, even if we must die for it in God’s name.

Pulling It Together

Salvation does not come by attending a particular church or belonging to a certain denomination. It does not happen because you follow a particular teacher or church leadership. It does not happen even if you prefer Paul over Peter or John over them both. Salvation comes through one name alone. It is not the name of your pastor, a priest, the pope, the name Lutheran or Roman Catholic or Baptist. The name by which all are saved is Jesus. He is the one who holds us all, and in him, all things hold together, for he is the head of the body (Col 1:17–18).

Prayer: Keep me in your name, O 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.

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/summaries.html Mon, 20 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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2 Thessalonians 2:3–4

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 26

This teaching powerfully demonstrates that the pope is the actual Antichrist, who has exalted himself above and set himself against Christ. For the pope will not allow that Christians are saved unless by his power, which nevertheless, amounts to nothing, being neither ordained nor commanded by God. He is actually doing what Paul says is exalting oneself above all that is called god (2 Thes 2:4).

Pulling It Together

We cannot have it both ways. Either Christ is head of his Church, or the pope is. It was claimed that the pope was supreme in the Church. Furthermore, it was declared that this must be believed in order to be saved. None of this is found in Scripture. It is not only outrageous; it must be firmly refuted by all Christians, for this is the very spirit of the one we are warned to expect at the end, and that is already in the world (1 John 2:18).

Prayer: Lord, prepare me for the end by keeping me through faith, now and always. 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 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.

• Leader's Guide   • See also: Sola Scriptura, Part 2: The Norm of Faith

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 13 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Psalm 139:10

I am traveling this week, representing Sola Publishing at the North American Lutheran Church's Lutheran Week in Denver, CO. I will try to post a few photos from the event on our Facebook page

These lessons will resume Monday, August 20, 2018. In the meanwhile, please visit the archives that go back to January 1, 2015. More than 900 Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions are housed there, including The Ecumenical Creeds, The Augsburg Confession, The Defense of the Augsburg Confession, and these first 55 lessons from the Smalcald articles. 

For Christ and His Church,
Mark Ryman 

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.” Experiencing Life Together, 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/summaries.html Fri, 10 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Colossians 1:17–18

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

So, the Church cannot be better governed and preserved than by us all living under one head, Christ, and by all the bishops being equal in office (though they are unequal in gifts), and diligently joined together in unity of doctrine, faith, Sacraments, prayer, works of love, and so forth. St. Jerome writes that the priests at Alexandria governed the churches together and in common, as the apostles also did, and afterwards all bishops throughout Christendom, until the pope raised his head over them all.

Pulling It Together

It is one thing to have a leader in the Church. It is another thing altogether to have that leader make claims that supersede Scripture, create new doctrines for the Church, and have power over others whom God himself has called to leadership. The easiest way around this problem is to have all bishops ruling together for the common good. More to the point, may their rule be displayed through faith in Christ our Head, by teaching the Scripture instead of dogma, administering the Sacraments rather than decrees, and by prayer and love for all the people.

Prayer: Hold your Church together, Lord, sending pastors to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments under your headship. 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.

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 andLuther'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/summaries.html Thu, 09 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 24:10–13

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Even if he did, Christianity would not be helped. More sects would arise than before. People would have to be subjects to this head, not from God’s command, but out of their own good pleasure. In short order, he would easily be despised and have no followers. Nor would he need to be confined forever to Rome or any other place, but might be wherever and in whatever church God would grant a person fit for the office. Oh, the complicated and confused state of affairs that would be!

Pulling It Together

Things are bound to get worse. That was Jesus’ message too. Yet, within his message was a word of hope and assurance: “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Is this promise of salvation for the ones who weather the storms caused by sects and disunity, who find a way to get along despite the seemingly purposeful poor leadership and doctrine that can plague any human institution, even the church? That is no hope, unless you are so arrogant as to place your hope in yourself. Jesus was not giving a pep talk. He was not saying anything like Knute Rockne’s, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” He was not saying, “Just hang in there.”

He meant that, the ones who keep their faith in him, despite the troubles that will come, will be saved. Assurance of salvation lies in Christ alone, not in a system of church governance, and certainly not the head of the Church—unless the Head is Christ.

Prayer: Keep the eyes of my heart fixed upon you, 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.

Not My Will, But Yours: A Bible Study on the Bound Will explores the theme of human bondage seen throughout Scripture. From the Old Testament examples of people held in slavery whom God came to set free, to the New Testament examples of Jesus healing illnesses and casting out demons, we witness the Lord’s power of deliverance. Ultimately, all these stories point to the greatest act of God’s redemption in the cross, where Christ rescued us from our captivity to the powers of sin, death, and the devil.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 08 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 10:27

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Imagine that the pope would yield this claim: that he is not sovereign by divine right or by God’s command. Suppose instead, that we must have a head to whom all the rest adhere in order that the unity of Christendom may be preserved against sects and heretics, and that if such a head were elected, that it was within the power of those people to change or remove that head. This is what happened at the Council of Constance in reference to the popes, deposing three and electing a fourth. Suppose, I say, that the pope and see at Rome would yield and accept this hypothesis (which, nevertheless, is impossible; for he would have to suffer his entire realm and estate to be overthrown and destroyed, along with all his rights and claims — a thing which, to speak in few words, he cannot do).

Pulling It Together

Oh, that Christ were head of the Church. We have no need of another. Christ has given his churches pastors, who are bishops or overseers of those congregations. Let them plainly and truly teach the Word of God. And let us have Christ as overseer of all bishops and their congregations. This is the best and simplest attempt at unity and purity of doctrine, for it is all that Scripture instructs. Anything else is human invention.

Prayer: Permit me to follow you, Lord, and no other. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 07 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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Matthew 23:9

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The papacy is of no use in the Church because it is not a Christian office. Accordingly, it is necessary for the Church to move on and continue to exist without a pope.

Pulling It Together

In The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien describes 20 rings of power that were forged to rule the inhabitants of Middle Earth. One ring and its wearer was to rule over the other 19 and their wearers. Eventually, the rest of the peoples of Middle Earth would be bound in evil and darkness by this one, supreme power. Oh, the trouble that always happens when one person, having been given imaginary and unchallenged power, rules over the rest. The trouble becomes demonic when that person is allowed divine power such as establishing articles of faith, which may only come from Scripture. The office is not found in Scripture, neither in title nor responsibility.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep me steadfast in your Word. Amen.

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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/summaries.html Mon, 06 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Revelation 12:1–6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

All the pope’s bulls and books exist, in which he roars like a lion (as the angel in Rev 10:3 depicts him), that no Christian can be saved unless by obeying him and being subject to him in all things that he wishes, that he says, and that he does. All of this amounts to nothing less than saying: Although you believe in Christ, and have everything in him that is necessary to salvation, yet it is nothing and all in vain unless you regard me as your god, and are subject and obedient to me. Yet it is obvious that the holy Church was without a pope for more than five hundred years at the least, and that the churches of the Greeks and of many other languages have never been under the pope and remain so even to the present day.

Besides, as often noted, the papacy is a human fabrication that is not commanded, and is unnecessary and useless. The holy Christian Church can exist very well without such a head, and certainly would have been better if such a head had not been raised up by the devil.

Pulling It Together

The “great red dragon” of Revelation 12 is depicted as a beast that has situated itself in such a way that it may easily devour the child about to be born into the world. The dragon and its spawn will do everything in their power to prevent the great salvation promised through that child. Despite his efforts, the child was born and ruled his kingdom invincibly, even overcoming death and ascending to the throne of God. Despite the dragon’s continuing efforts to destroy Christ’s Church, like the ancient Hebrews, they will live out their time in a wilderness where God will supply their every need. We have faith in this Papa, and no other.

Prayer: Give me faith in you alone, Lord Jesus. 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/summaries.html Fri, 03 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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Jude 3

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

It follows from this that everything the pope has undertaken and carried out, from such false, mischievous, blasphemous, and arrogant authority have been and still are purely diabolical affairs and transactions (with the exception of such things as pertain to secular government, where God often permits much good to be effected for a people, even through a tyrant and scoundrel) for the ruin of the entire holy Christian Church (as far as it is in his power) and for the destruction of the first and chief article concerning redemption through Jesus Christ.

Pulling It Together

The real issue was, and will always be, in regards to redemption. How is one forgiven and saved? Does this happen because of our good works, religious services, the works of others, declarations of indulgence? Or are we forgiven and saved because we have faith in what Christ did? Do we slowly whittle down our sin debt to zero, even if in a purgatory? Or has Christ done this once and for all on Calvary?

Any doctrine or policy that attributes the work of salvation to anyone other than Christ, is wrong policy and heresy. Any declaration of forgiveness that is contrary to Scripture is arrogant, as it attempts to usurp God’s Word. God help the Church when human policies are authoritative and God’s Word is spurned. So, we must contend for that great truth once delivered to the saints: faith in Christ—not people, not works, not services. Solus Christus!

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

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Go and Tell - Word of Life Series (Unit 2) 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/summaries.html Thu, 02 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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Micah 5:2–5

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Today, none of the bishops dare to address the pope as brother as once was done. They must call him “most gracious lord,” even if they are kings or emperors. We will not, cannot, must not take this upon our consciences. Let those, however, who would do this, do so without us.

Pulling It Together

This is not a matter of being unwilling to grovel. Rather, we should not address brothers and sisters in the Lord as though they were anyone but family. Moreover, it is the Lord who is our master and ruler, not someone chosen by vote. We stand before God, not by virtue of a religious office but, because of God’s might and his great name. Only in God’s name, his reputation—not a human’s—is our salvation and hope and peace.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to be true to your Word and give you alone my obeisance. Amen.

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 01 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Psalm 118:19–24

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Concerning the Papacy

The pope is not, according to divine law or the Word of God, the head of all Christendom, as this position only belongs to the one whose name is Jesus Christ. The pope is only the bishop and pastor of the churches in Rome and those that voluntarily or through a human institution (that is, a secular power) have attached themselves to him. They are not under a lord, but with him as fellow Christians and comrades, as the ancient councils and the age of Cyprian establish.

Pulling It Together

There is only one who is the head of the Church (Col 1:18). Jesus Christ must be given this honor, for the Father has conferred that authority and power on him alone (Matt 28:18). Furthermore, he has earned the title and the honor (Phil 2:8–9). Let us commit it to him alone. Otherwise, humans begin to believe they have the power to make up new rules and rites in the Church, things that have no basis in Scripture, or are even opposed to the clear teaching of God’s Word. This too, removes the honor from Christ alone. When his Word is dishonored, the Chief Cornerstone is rejected.

Prayer: Open to me, Lord Jesus, the gates of your righteousness. 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.

If you are a pastor or Council member, you know it is close to budget preparation time for 2019. Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your benevolence. You may also securely donate as an individual by clicking the red donate button above. 

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Kids' Pages http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 01 Aug 18 00:00:00 -0500

Click these links to download PDFs of the Kids' Pages in Connections magazine. Feel free to include them in your church newsletter, and make copies for use in your church and family.

January/February 2019 (First Commandment)

July/August 2018 (First Article of the Apostles' Creed)

September/October 2018  (Second Article of the Apostles' Creed)

November/December 2018 (Third Article of the Apostles' Creed)

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 31 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 10:46–52 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

If monasteries and convents will not serve this purpose, it is better that they be abandoned or demolished, rather than continue with their blasphemous services invented by people, claiming to be something better than the ordinary Christian life and the offices and callings ordained by God. All this is also contrary to the first, chief article concerning redemption made through Jesus Christ. Besides this, like all other human inventions, these have not been commanded, and are needless and useless. Furthermore, they cause dangerous and vain efforts, such services as the prophets call aven, that is, deception and evil behavior.

Pulling It Together

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for well-meaning people to be caught up in religious practices, thinking they are doing right, while acting unrighteously. Add to this that they are deceiving themselves. Yet, at the base of all these actions is generally the notion that there is some benefit to come from these so-called services for God. The prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all, promises good fortune if you sow a seed in the collection plate. Living the monastic life falsely promises favor from God, and the hope of becoming a saint through communal service.

All the while, it is ordinary Christians who are already saints, living the lives to which God has called them. They are not saints because they live these lives and perform acts of devotion to God. They are saints because God has made them holy by the single virtue of his Son. It is faith in Jesus that makes us well (ESV, NASB, RSV), heals us (NIV), makes us whole (KJV, ASV), or saves us (σώσω, Mark 10:52). This is where holiness comes from—not from works, lest anyone should boast (Eph 2:9) and fall into sin.

Life, crazy as every day may be, lived in Christ Jesus makes one holy, not a life lived in the ordered world of a cloister.

Prayer: I take heart at your word, Lord, and will follow you with the help of your 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.

Disciples of the Cross is a two-part Bible study addressing the topic of Christian discipleship from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. 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.

Click HERE to download a sample session.

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/summaries.html Mon, 30 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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1 Kings 19:1–8

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Concerning Chapters and Cloisters

Chapters and cloisters, that in the past, were founded with the good intention of educating learned men and virtuous women, should be returned to this use, so that we may have pastors, preachers, and other ministers for the churches, others necessary for secular government of cities and countries, and well-educated young women for mothers, housekeepers, etc.

Pulling It Together

Monasteries and convents had become, by Luther’s time, places to earn one’s salvation. In other words, the sacrifice of living such a life was a merit of one’s virtue, imagined as deserving salvation. Luther viewed this, not only as distracting from the truth that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ but, as unpractical. The various vocations of life needed well-trained people, from those making proper homes, including the schooling of children within those households, to civil servants and ministers of the Church.

Luther was taking on a dragon here. Cloistered orders were part of the fabric of society. What Luther proposed amounted to ripping that cloth from top to bottom. Sixteen years earlier, the Edict of Worms decreed that Luther be arrested and punished, probably by death as a heretic. Yet, he continued to champion the gospel by preaching, teaching, and writing about salvation by faith in Christ alone. God’s grace is the only food by which we are sustained for the journey to eternal life.

Prayer: Sustain me, Lord, by your grace. 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 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/summaries.html Sat, 28 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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Psalm 145:10–13

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

In short, we cannot support the Mass and anything that proceeds from it or is attached to it. We must condemn these things so that the holy Sacrament is purely and certainly retained, according to the institution of Christ, administered and received through faith.

Pulling It Together

Habemus ad Dominum. This is part of the Preface prayer, just before we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” in the liturgy. In English, we sing, “We lift them to the Lord.” We lift our hearts to the Lord, not to saints or angels or any other created thing. This adoration and invocation of saints is a byproduct of the larger corruption of the Mass that we have been discussing. The Lord’s Supper is the Lord’s, and must be retained as he instituted, so that we may receive him through faith. Be careful that you lift a thankful heart to the Lord, and no other.

Prayer: I give you thanks, O Lord, for the powerful effect of your body and blood. 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/summaries.html Fri, 27 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 6:53–56

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

As a Christian and saint upon earth, you may pray for me, not only for one, but for many needs. I am not obliged to adore and pray to you because you do, nor celebrate festivals, fast, make oblations, hold masses for your honor, and put my faith in you for my salvation. I can honor, love, and thank you in Christ in other ways. If such idolatrous honor were withdrawn from angels and departed saints, the remaining honor would cause no harm and be quickly forgotten. When spiritual and physical reward and assistance are no longer expected, the saints will not be troubled, either in their graves or in heaven. For not many will remember, or esteem, or honor them out of pure love unless there is a reward.

Pulling It Together

Jesus’ disciples had just seen him walking on the sea, did not recognize him, and were terrified. Yet the people of Gennesaret “immediately recognized him” and were overjoyed at his presence. As though his disciples were not even present, the people hurried to bring their sick to Jesus. Why? Because they knew that wherever Jesus went, he would heal their sick. Jesus loves to heal people with faith in him, for such faith makes them well (Mark 5:34; Luke 17:19).

Like the townspeople, we are expected to bring out the sick and present them before Jesus (James 5:14–16). We may confidently pray to the Lord for one another, since his Word urges us to do so. However, Scripture does not have us pray to saints or expect anything from them. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Pray to him.

Prayer: Give me faith to believe, Lord God, that you hear my prayers—and answer. 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/summaries.html Thu, 26 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

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Romans 8:33–37

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Although the angels of heaven pray for us (as Christ himself also does), as well as the saints on earth, and perhaps in heaven too, it does not then follow that we should invoke and adore angels and saints, holding fasts and festivals, celebrating Mass in their honor, making offerings, and establishing churches, altars, divine worship, serving them in still more ways, while regarding them as patrons and intercessors in times of need, and ascribing to them all manner of help, assigning to each one a particular form of assistance, as the papists teach and do. This is idolatry. Such honor belongs to God alone.

Pulling It Together

Only Jesus Christ is our mediator. If he intercedes for us (and he does), we need no other. He requires no assistance; he is up to the task. So, give him the honor of calling upon him in your time of need. New religious items are not required; Jesus alone is necessary. Indeed, these fasts and services and offerings not only do not help, they are a hindrance. If one depends on anything or anyone other than Jesus, they have done two things wrongly. First, they have called upon ones who cannot help. Second, they have dishonored Christ and spurned his love. He has promised to hear our prayers (1 John 5:14), so pray to him.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your listening love. 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/summaries.html Wed, 25 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Philippians 3:8–11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Concerning the Invocation of Saints

The invocation of saints is also one of the abuses of the Antichrist. It conflicts with the chief article, and subverts the knowledge of Christ. It is neither commanded nor counseled, and there is no example of it in Scripture. Even if prayer to saints was a precious thing—which it is not—we have everything a thousandfold better in Christ.

Pulling It Together

Lutherans commend honoring the saints by remembering them, and emulating godly lives. We disapprove of praying to saints and angels. Scripture does not in any way teach us to do so. Furthermore, it takes the honor from Christ. He alone is our mediator. Praying to saints removes proper focus. Do not go to Saint Nick or Saint Anne; go to Jesus. He is the one to be on speaking terms with and to know in ever deeper ways. Nothing is worth more than knowing Jesus through faith.

Prayer: Lord, I want to know you and the power of your resurrection. 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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 24 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Timothy 2:5–6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Sixth are the precious indulgences granted (but only for money) both to the living and the dead, by which the miserable Judas, or pope, has sold the merit of Christ, together with the superfluous merits of the saints and of the entire Church, etc. All these things are not to be endured. They not only lack the authority of the Word of God, are unnecessary, and not commanded, but are in opposition to the chief article. For the merit of Christ is not obtained by our works or pennies, but by grace through faith. It is not offered through the power of the Pope, but without money and merit through the preaching of God’s Word.

Pulling It Together

God determines the payment for sin. The Church does not do so, nor does a pope. We know this because this is what the Bible teaches. God’s Word does not teach us to trust in the goodness of either religion or religious people. We are taught to trust in the merits of Jesus Christ. This is reliable instruction because the Word of God tells us that people, even so-called saints, are not good (Rom 3:10), and that Christ is so especially good that he is sufficient to cover the sins of the world (Heb 10:14; 1 John 2:2). Christ alone is our indulgence, freely given (Eph 1:7). This is taught in Scripture, even if not in commentaries and canons. This is written by the hand of the prophets and apostles, even if not not by popes and professors.

Prayer: Empower me through Christ and his salvation to do what you have created me to do. 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 music for use in worship, drawing upon the Reclaim Hymnal, original texts set to music in the public domain, as well as 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/summaries.html Mon, 23 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 5:8–11

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Fifth are relics, in which there is found so much dishonesty and nonsense about the bones of dogs and horses, that even the devil has laughed at such deceit. Even if there were some good in them, they should have been condemned long ago. This is especially so since they have no basis in the Word of God. Being neither commanded nor counseled, they are entirely unnecessary and useless things. But the worst is that these relics are said to produce indulgence and the forgiveness of sins, that like the Mass, etc., they are a good work and service of God.

Pulling It Together

There is a painting that hangs above the altar in St. Peter and Paul Church in Weimar, Germany. In that painting, Luther is pointing to an open Bible in his hand. No doubt, the painter, Lucas Cranach the elder, and his son who finished the painting, meant to remind us to look to the Word of God. We must rely on what is written, not what is fabricated. Further, the painting makes clear that what Luther is pointing to is Scripture, that tells us how we are justified with God. The blood of Jesus Christ is central in the painting. Everything points to the cross—even the Word of God. We must remember that nothing else washes away sin but the blood of the Lamb of God.

Prayer: Help me remember, Lord Jesus, that you alone justify me to your Father. Amen.

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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. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Sat, 21 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Acts 8:20–22

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The fourth are fraternities. Monasteries, chapters, and vicars have contracted and conveyed (by legal contract and sale) all Masses, good works, and so forth, both for the living and the dead. This is not only sheer human rubbish, without the Word of God, entirely unnecessary, and not commanded, but also contrary to the chief article, “Concerning Redemption.” Therefore it is in no way to be tolerated.

Pulling It Together

The Mass had become property, something to be bought and sold. Huge sums were brought into the churches through the sale of the forgiveness of sins. We should continue to teach against this in our churches, since it is all too easy to slip back into this disgraceful practice. It is easy because we innately believe the old saying: nothing in this world is free. So, we naturally think we must pay for anything of value, and that anything free is not worth having. Nonetheless, there is one thing of immense value that is entirely free. God freely gives eternal life to all who have faith in Christ (Rom 6:23). Nothing may be paid for this free gift—not a deed, nor a rite, nor indeed, a payment for someone else to perform them.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your abounding grace. 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/summaries.html Fri, 20 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Revelation 14:6–7

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Pilgrimages is the third. Masses, forgiveness of sins, and the grace of God were sought in this too. The Mass controlled everything. Now it is certain that such pilgrimages have not been commanded by the Word of God, nor are they necessary, since we can have these things in a better way, thereby eliminating these pilgrimages without any sin and danger. So, why do they desert their own parishes, the Word of God, wives, children, etc.—which are essential and commanded—and run after these unnecessary, uncertain, pernicious will-o’-the-wisps of the devil? They do this because the devil was driving the pope, causing him to praise and establish these practices, so the people would turn from Christ to their own works, and worst of all, became idolaters. In any case, it is unnecessary, not commanded, senseless, uncertain, and harmful. So, here too, there can be no yielding or surrender. Let this be preached and then, see what becomes of these pilgrimages.

Pulling It Together

We are all on pilgrimage—to appear before God in judgment. That Day is approaching, whether or not we feel its nearness. Every day, we are miles closer in our journeys. We are not drawing near to relics, cathedrals, or shrines, hoping that we will find forgiveness and peace in these things. Indeed, we do not need to (nor should we) arrive at the gates of heaven to receive forgiveness. The gospel is eternal: not only unchanging, but present with us. Forgiveness of sin and eternal life are given to us now, in Christ alone. They are not guaranteed by a place or a thing; the gospel promises us these gifts here and now, so that we may live lives of fearful hope within the vocations of marriage, work, and other necessary and blessed duties.

Prayer: Lord, give me faith to fear, love, and trust you both now and forever. Amen.

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The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. 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. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 19 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 10:14–17

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Secondly, as consequence of their doctrine, evil spirits performed devilry by appearing as the souls of the departed, and with unspeakable lies and tricks, demanded masses, vigils, pilgrimages, and other alms. We had to accept all these things as articles of faith, and live accordingly. The pope confirmed these things, the Mass too, and all other abominations. Here, too, there must be no compromise or surrender.

Pulling It Together

Again, what has this to do with Scripture? What does the Word of God say about the matter? Someone says that a spirit told them to do something. How convenient. They may as well say, “God told me you’re supposed to do this.” They should ignore the voices in their heads and supposed spirits, and start listening to the Spirit of God. The only objective way to hear God is in his Word, not in one’s imagination.

Prayer: Speak to me, O Word of God. Amen.

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Getting to Know Martin Luther is a five-lesson Conformation workbook about Martin Luther's life that will help confirmands get a better glimpse into what faith means for their own lives by searching and understanding the Word of God, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, standing up for what they believe in, and helping others to learn the truth about God.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 18 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Galatians 1:8 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

It will not do to make articles of faith from the works or words of the holy Fathers. If we did, what they ate, what they wore, the kinds of houses they lived in, etc., would have to become articles of faith, as was done with relics. The rule is: the Word of God shall establish articles of faith—no one else, not even an angel.

Pulling It Together

We have a rule to live by: sola Scriptura. This does not mean, as some think, that we speak only where Scripture speaks and are silent on all other matters. It means that the writings of the Old and New Testament are “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged” (Formula of Concord). It goes to the “what is written.” Is a teaching in line with what the Word of God teaches? Yes? Then you may live by such a teaching. No? It may be discarded without guilt or regret.

But what if my bishop told me to follow this teaching? What is written? What if my conscience tells me to do it? What does the Scripture teach? What if my pastor and church Council say I have to do it to be a member of the congregation? Does the Word teach otherwise? But I heard the voice of an angel telling me to believe thus and so. What do you hear in the Scripture alone? Does the Word of God agree with the voice of the angel, your conscience, Council, pastor, bishop?

Prayer: Help me live my life in accord with your Word, Lord. 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 one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Part 1 Participant
Part 1 Leader
​Part 2 Participant
Part 2 Leader

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 17 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Corinthians 11:23–26

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Our papists, however, cite such human opinions so that people will believe in their horrible, blasphemous, and cursed traffic in masses for souls in purgatory, etc. But they will never substantiate these things with Augustine. Now, when they have abolished their traffic in masses for purgatory, of which Augustine never dreamed, we will then discuss with them whether statements Augustine made without support of Scripture are to be admitted, and whether the dead are to be remembered at the Eucharist.

Pulling It Together

See where human reason takes you without the Word of God? One invention demands another until you have a system of traditions that cannot be supported from the Scripture. God’s Word tells us that he forgives the sin of those who have faith in his Son. Further, God is just to do so, because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for the world. Now, enter human reason. Surely, Christ must be sacrificed again and again because I sin again and again. Now that the death of Christ has been so trivialized, it opens the door to the idea of our own works paying the price of sin. Well, what if we have not done enough good to counter the bad? Does one go to heaven or hell? Scripture is clear; human reason, not so much. So, purgatory is invented. Here one may continue to pay the price until all one’s sins have been purged. Now, the sacrifice of the Mass is ready to offer extra help to those languishing in purgatory. Special masses are held in remembrance of loved ones.

None of this is supported in Scripture. Christ died once for everyone, and this grace is apprehended through faith alone. Without faith in Christ, one will continue to live apart from God in an eternity called hell. With faith in his Christ, one will live in eternal fellowship with God in heaven. We are kept in his grace through the body and blood of Jesus in the Sacrament. And, indeed, a remembrance is to be held every time the Sacrament is celebrated. “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Prayer: Lord, make my eating and drinking be a proclamation of your death to those I love. 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/summaries.html Mon, 16 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Revelation 22:18–19 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

At this point, the papists quote Augustine and some of the Fathers who are said to have written about purgatory. They think that we do not understand for what purpose and to what end they wrote as they did. St. Augustine does not write that there is a purgatory, nor does he cite Scripture that would have him believe there is, but leaves it in doubt whether there is one, and mentions that his mother asked to be remembered at the altar or Sacrament. Now, all this is nothing but the devotion of certain individuals. It does not establish an article of faith, which is the prerogative of God alone.

Pulling It Together

What is written? One must look to the Scripture, then to the Church Fathers, and only listen the Fathers when they have heard the Word. We might be satisfied with the notion of a purgatory if two matters could be settled. First, if the idea of a purgatory were established in Scripture, we could be persuaded to investigate this fictitious place further. For example, the word “trinity,” is not found anywhere in Scripture, yet the Trinity is found throughout (eg: Matt 28:19). We are not looking for the word “purgatory;” just show where this place is taught in Scripture. Second, if it were written about in Scripture, we could be enticed to consider further if faith were not countermanded by such a place. Works are required for release from purgatory. Mere faith in Christ would keep one out, if it existed.

Prayer: O Lord, give me faith from your Spirit working through your Word alone. Amen.

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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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Sat, 14 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 14:22–25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

In addition to all this, this dragon’s tail, the Mass, has spawned a brood of vermin and manifold idolatries. Purgatory is the first. They have carried their trade into purgatory with masses for souls, vigils, weekly, monthly, and yearly celebrations of requiems, and finally through the common week, All Souls’ Day, and soul baths, so that the Mass is used almost exclusively for the dead, even though Christ instituted the Sacrament only for the living. Therefore purgatory, and all its pomp, services, and commerce, should be regarded as nothing but a specter of the devil. For it conflicts with the chief article that Christ alone, not the works of men, helps souls. Besides, we have not been commanded or taught about the dead in this regard. Therefore, all this may be safely done away with, even if it were not heresy and idolatry.

Pulling It Together

What Christ actually instituted is sometimes quite different from what is practiced. So, let us be clear on what was actually done by our Lord, instead of what has been invented since. As Jesus and his disciples were eating the Passover meal together, Jesus took the table bread, blessed it, broke it, and distributed it to his disciples. As he gave it to them, he not only told them to take it, he also instructed them, saying, “This is my body.” In doing so, he established a communion, not only between himself and his disciples but between his body and the bread. Those words, “This is my body,” are as emphatic and effective as, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:14). God’s word accomplishes what he desires (Isa 55:11).

Then he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to them, and they all drank the Passover wine. More instruction accompanied the cup. Jesus said it was his blood of the covenant. His sacrifice of his own body and blood would establish the meal he instituted with his followers. All of this was done for the living, with no instruction in the gospels or elsewhere in Scripture to commune the dead, those in a fancied purgatory—for which there is also no teaching or ground in Scripture.

Prayer: Help me believe what is written in 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 Ten Commandments is a ten-week unit in the Sola Confirmation Series. It 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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 13 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Revelation 5:11–12 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This article about the Mass will be the whole business of the Council. If it were possible for them to concede to us all the other articles, they would not concede this one. At Augsburg, Campegius said that he would be torn to pieces before he would give up the Mass. By the help of God, I too, would rather be reduced to ashes than allow a hireling of the Mass, be he good or bad, to be made equal to or exalted over Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. So, we are and remain eternally divided and opposed to one another. They know well enough that when the Mass falls, the papacy lies in ruins. Before they would let that happen, they would put us all to death if they could.

Pulling It Together

Millions of angels bow before Christ, who is worthy to be exalted over all creation. This is heard in Revelation’s septave of complete praise: power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. No one else in all creation is worthy of such honor, yet it is afforded to priests. As long as one group believes Christ’s work is incomplete and therefore, further sacrifices for sin must be repeatedly offered, while another believes Christ’s single sacrifice perfects forever those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14), there will be division in the Church. Such division is not a bad thing; it is necessary so that apostolic truth may be understood (1 Cor 11:19). Meanwhile, like the author of Hebrews and Luther and the Reformers with him, we must insist that priestly sacrifices, “offerings for sin” (Heb 10:18), are no longer necessary, and even reprehensible.

Prayer: Help me trust in your sacrifice, Jesus, my High Priest. Amen.

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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/summaries.html Thu, 12 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Matthew 18:20

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Some rationalize that administering the Sacrament, or Communion, to themselves is an act of personal devotion. This is disingenuous, for if they sincerely wish to commune, the surest and best way is in the administration of the Sacrament according to Christ’s institution. Communing oneself is a human notion, uncertain, unnecessary, and even prohibited. They do not know what they are doing, since they are following a false, human opinion and invention without the authority of the Word of God. It is not right (even if the matter were otherwise correct) for one to use the common Sacrament belonging to the Church, for private devotion, trifling with it outside the Word of God and the communion of his Church.

Pulling It Together

We confess in the Third Article of the Creed that we believe in the communion of saints. Personal Communion would say otherwise. Luther’s instruction on the Third Article is helpful. God “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith” (Luther’s Small Catechism). The Sacraments are always given and received in the community of Christians: the holy, catholic Church. Christ is present in this communion of saints where we freely receive his grace in the forgiveness of sins and the promises of resurrection and eternal life. Let those who are earnest in faith, come to the altar with the rest of the Church.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for being present with your Church. Amen.

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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/summaries.html Wed, 11 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 1:29

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 30

Fifthly, the Mass is and can be nothing else than a human work (even when performed by wicked scoundrels, as Church law and all books declare). By it, one attempts to reconcile himself and others to God, and to obtain and deserve the forgiveness of sins and grace (for this is how the Mass is observed when it is observed at the very best; otherwise what purpose would it serve?). This is the very reason it should and must be condemned and rejected, as it directly conflicts with the chief article, which states that it is the Lamb of God, the Son of God, who bears away our sins—not either a wicked or a godly hireling of the Mass by what he does.

Pulling It Together

The mission of Jesus was to take upon himself the sin of the whole world (those who have ever lived, as well as those who ever will). The righteous, sinless Son of God bore the sin of all humanity, so that those who believe in him, may justly be considered righteous before God. He is our righteousness (1 Cor 1:30). He has done this for us; no one else does, nor can they. Any other religious form must be rejected. Holy Communion celebrates what Christ has done, not what someone else does. Christ alone was able to make this sacrifice, and he has done so. It is finished (John 19:30).

Prayer: Lamb of God, give me confidence in what you have done for the world, and even for me. 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.” 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/summaries.html Tue, 10 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 14:6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Fourthly, since such innumerable and unspeakable abuses have resulted throughout the world because of the buying and selling of Masses, the Mass should justly be renounced, if for no other purpose than to prevent abuses, even if it had something advantageous and good. The more we should reject it, and escape forever these horrible abuses, when it is altogether unnecessary, useless, and dangerous, and when we may obtain everything by a more necessary, profitable, and certain way without the Mass.

Pulling It Together

The principal abuse of the Mass itself, was that it took the glory away from Christ. People are justified through faith in Christ alone, without the merit of additional sacrifices and works. So to say that they are justified, forgiven, and saved through any other sacrifice, even disguised in the robes of Christ himself, robs him of the honor, and us of what is promised.

Within the whole system of the Mass, was the outworking and the evidence of how wrong the Mass was, and why it should be abandoned. Because the Mass was a doing of a thing, a mere ritual performed, the logical result was the buying and selling of Masses. Without faith being necessary—faith in Christ’s one sacrifice, carried out a sufficient once for a whole world—it becomes necessary to perform the sacrifice over and over for the multitudes, even for the dead, whether they have faith or not. Furthermore, because there is no faith to grasp the extent of God’s mercy, the sacrifice must also be performed each time one has sinned again (since the last sacrifice). The sacrifice of the Mass was not the receiving of forgiveness and the reassurance of the certainty of salvation as instituted by Christ; it was the temporary purchase of these things, as dictated by humans.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being the better and only way. Amen.

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The goal of the Personalities of Faith youth Bible study 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/summaries.html Mon, 09 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 19:28–30 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 28

Let it be publicly preached that the Mass is a human deception, and may be neglected without sin, that no one will be condemned for not observing it. One may be saved in a better way without the Mass. I predict that the Mass will then collapse by itself, not only among the rude, common people, but also among all pious, Christian, reasonable, God-fearing hearts—particularly when they hear that the Mass is a dangerous thing, fabricated and invented without the will and Word of God.

Pulling It Together

Justification is the thing around which all else circles. Look to any doctrine or practice of a church and observe how a person is justified to God. You will soon enough see whether that teaching or ritual is heresy or not. Does the praxis teach the apostolic faith, or has it shifted to human inventions, to heresy? In this case of the Mass, Luther is concerned about just this: justification. If the Mass centers around a fiction—indeed, a lie—then, is it truly the Lord’s Supper, a holy communion? If it is not, then it may be avoided without concern. There is a better way; that way being the Lord’s Supper, wherein one believes on Jesus Christ through faith and freely receives God’s grace and the forgiveness of sin. But if one has come to a sacrifice that frees us from our sins, then justification is not free at all. The Roman Mass was an activity that was said to merit the forgiveness of sins. Holy Communion is something remarkably other, in which we freely receive forgiveness from him whose merit affords it for us. “It is finished” (John 19:30). We can add nothing to Christ’s “finished.”

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for your free gifts through Christ. Amen.

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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/summaries.html Sat, 07 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Mark 14:22–24

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 27

Thirdly, the Sacrament may be received in a better and more blessed way: according to the institution of Christ. So, why do they drive the world to woe and misery on account of a fictitious, unnecessary matter, which may be easily obtained in another and more blessed way?

Pulling It Together

Christ’s words stand on their own; we do not need—nor should we—add anything to them in order to make them effective. The reason for this, is that it is his word that makes them effective. Consider creation. All things that have been made were spoken into existence by the Word (John 1:3). We contributed nothing to make creation what it is; God’s word alone was required. It is the same with Holy Communion. We add no works of our own and we add nothing to Christ’s words. We simply believe his word through faith, receiving his true body and blood in the bread and wine as a means of grace.

Prayer: Thank you, Living Word, for dying for 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.

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/summaries.html Fri, 06 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Hebrews 6:1–6

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 26

Secondly, this is an unnecessary thing, which may be omitted without sin and danger.

Pulling It Together

While it may be “omitted without sin and danger,” it may not be done without danger of sin. If people believe that Holy Communion is a work, a sacrifice done by a priest, and a service performed by themselves to receive God’s grace and forgiveness, then they are in real danger. If they believe that God’s free grace is something that must be merited, then they reject Christ; they refuse his mercy and grace. They spurn Christ’s crucifixion, his death, and his resurrection, if they insist this sacrifice of the Mass must be performed again and again (Heb 9:28). This crucifying of Christ makes mockery of him, all for the sake of being religious. The irony is, this false religion affords no certain hope of real forgiveness or eternal life. Its adherents are always concerned whether they have done enough to compensate for their sins. All the while, Jesus has done everything.

Prayer: Restore to me, Lord Jesus, the joy of your salvation. 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.

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/summaries.html Thu, 05 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Isaiah 29:13–14

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

If there were reasonable papists, we could speak reasonably and in a friendly way, asking why they so rigidly uphold the Mass. For they are strictly a human invention, not having been commanded by God. We may discard every human invention, as Christ declares: “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt 15:9).

Pulling It Together

Luther speaks here of the money-making Roman Mass. We have dealt earlier with masses paid for in order to absolve the dead, or others not present. Such things are religious and may make one feel faithful, yet they are not commanded by God. Indeed, in the case of this so-called Mass, it is evil because it does not require faith, since the dead, those not present, and even people who did not want a Mass paid for and said for them, are neither confessing their sins nor having faith in Christ. Ironically, it is through the pure Lord’s Supper that God does something wonderful, freely giving his grace to those with faith in Christ.

Prayer: Help me live by faith, Lord, not by religious works. 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.

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/summaries.html Wed, 04 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 Peter 1:18–19

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 24

Part II, Article II: Of the Mass

The Mass must be considered as the greatest and most horrible abomination in the papacy, because it directly and powerfully conflicts with this chief article. It has been the principal and most specious of papal idolatries, above and before all others, for it is held that this sacrifice or work of the Mass (though it be offered by a wicked scoundrel) frees men from sins, both in this life and also in purgatory. Yet, only the Lamb of God can and must do this, as has been stated above. Nothing is to be surrendered or conceded in this article, because the first article does not allow it.

Pulling It Together

Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin. The blood of the perfect Lamb of God was the redemption price, liberating us from not only sin, but death and the devil to boot. This is not an act in a play, a drama to be reenacted by priests. For Christ laid down his life one time, a sufficient quantity for the life of a world (Heb 9:28).

Prayer: Thank you for my freedom, 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/summaries.html Tue, 03 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 20:31

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

Nothing in this article can be yielded or surrendered, though heaven and earth, or any other transient thing should pass away. As Peter says, “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “With his wounds we are healed” (Isa 53:5). On this article depends everything we teach and practice in opposition to the pope, the devil, and the world. Therefore, we must be certain about this doctrine, and not doubt. Otherwise all is lost, and the pope, the devil, and all others gain the victory over us.

Pulling It Together

Faith. Faith in Christ. Faith in Christ alone. This must not be yielded, or else anything may be believed. A system of law, or works, or any human tradition could be said to lead to salvation. But what is written? We have life in his name. Eternal life, salvation, righteousness, and justification all come through faith in Christ alone. Everything depends upon this doctrine. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); there is no other name by which we are saved.

Prayer: Give me the assurance of your salvation, Lord, and the peace that comes only from your 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.

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/summaries.html Mon, 02 Jul 18 00:00:00 -0500

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1 John 1:7–9

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 22

Now, because this can not be acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, but must be believed, it is clear and certain that only this faith justifies us. St. Paul says, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Rom 3:28). A few verses earlier, Paul states that, God alone “is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26). 

Pulling It Together

Divine justice owes humanity nothing. We do not deserve to be justified to God because of anything we do. Indeed, our sin and sinfulness deserve exactly the opposite. This is not a system of quid pro quo, as though one good deed makes up for one bad, or that a promise to do better, along with a little community service, gets one off the hook. We are on sin’s hook from the get-go. The only way we are gotten off that hook is through faith in God’s justice, his system of merit. We confess our sins and have faith that God will do as he promised: forgive us of our sins and purge us of all unrighteousness. He is not merely faithful to do so but also just, not because we have earned it but, for Christ’s sake. 

Prayer: Help me to walk in the light—not any dim ray from my own deeds, but in the full, glorious light of Christ 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.

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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New Reading Glasses http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 28 Jun 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Reading Scripture Through the Lens of the Catechism

by Mark Ryman, March/April 2018 issue of "Connections Magazine"

To all faithful and godly pastors, preachers, teachers, and parents:
grace, mercy, and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord!

Ten books fascinated me while growing up in the 60s in Ohio. One was covered in black leather with a zipper around the edges — as though to keep me out. It was The Holy Bible and it sat on the coffee table in our living room, untouched it seemed, except for dusting. I still remember that room, the placement of the furniture, and the prints that hung on the walls: Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy” staring across the room at Warner Sallman’s “Head of Christ.” I asked if I might be allowed to read that Bible.

You will be pleased to hear that I was permitted to read it. I did. A lot. I read our King James Bible so much that Mom got me the next eight of my favorite boyhood books. They were a set called The Bible Story Library, itself nothing but excerpts from the King James accompanied by still more famous paintings and prints. I was especially taken by the engravings of Gustave Doré and the Bible stories from “Creation” to “The Apocalypse” that they adorned. The fluorescent book covers may have helped, that and the fact that they were not zippered.

A few years later, rounding out my set of ten favorites, I was given my Dad’s light blue, hardbound Small Catechism of Martin Luther when I started what were called Catechism Classes back in the day. I confess that I did not pay as much attention to the Small Catechism as I did the Bible. Yet, I treasured it, perhaps because it was my Dad’s, but maybe because it would come to mean so much more to me half a century later.

I have come at the Small Catechism backwards. It was originally written and published after Luther toured the churches in Saxony in 1528. He wrote in the Preface of the Small Catechism:

The deplorable condition in which I found religious affairs during the recent visitation of the congregations has impelled me to publish this Catechism, or statement of the Christian doctrine, after having prepared it in very brief and simple terms. Alas! what misery I beheld! The people, especially those who live in the villages, seem to have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are ignorant and incompetent teachers.

So, he penned the Catechism in terms simple enough that parents (and pastors) could use it to teach their children the basics of the Word of God. I had already been formed with a love of that Word, yet was still required to learn the Catechism — a very good thing for me.

The result of that book working its way into me is that 50 years later, I have learned how to read the Bible in a new and helpful way. At age 62, I require ever-stronger reading glasses to make out the words in the Bible or any other book. Yet, I have discovered that I have been carrying the strongest lenses possible with me since my youth. The new-found reading glasses I began to use so late in life, the lenses that helped me read Scripture in a whole new way, were light blue and hardbound.

When I began to read the Bible through the lens of the Catechism, I saw it on every page. To help me see the Catechism in my Bible, I got a set of Zebrite highlighters. Every time I saw a quotation or allusion to the Ten Commandments, I marked it with the orange pen. I marked verses that the Creed dealt with in green, blue for the Lord’s Prayer, and pink for the Sacraments. I was using those pens so much that I had to come up with a handy way to remember what color went with each section of the Catechism. The Ten Commandments were delivered at fiery Mt. Sinai: so, orange. The Creed speaks to our new life in faith: green. The Lord’s Prayer was taught under the blue sky of a mount and a plain: the blue marker. I used the pink pen for the Sacraments because of the wine on the Lord’s table.

The Bible started to become a lot more colorful. It was my sermon notes that actually became so colorful. I designed note-taking sheets for this purpose. The left half of each page contained the Sunday readings; the right side was lined for notes. Every time I would highlight something in the left column with one of those four colors, I would write the words from the Catechism on the lines in the right column. For Ascension Sunday last year, my notes have 32 highlights and handwritten notes from the Catechism in the three readings and Psalm. I keep these sheets in a notebook with the Sola Pocket Catechism stuffed into the notebook pocket for handy reference.

For those of you whose church subscribes to SOWeR, the “Sola Online Worship eResource,” these “Scripture Notes” are part of your subscription. These note-taking sheets are provided for each Sunday and festival, and may be found in the right-hand column of text links (“Links to Worship Resources”). They are useful for pastors, Sunday School teachers, and serious students of the Bible.

If you begin your own practice of reading the Bible through the lens of the Catechism, you will probably discover that you will need more green highlighters. I find references to the Creed more than anything else. So much green tells me that this ancient statement is a correct distillation of our faith. Those green lines will not only be in your New Testament, but the Old as well. The Creed is ubiquitous.

Churches in the West may have once again become a lot like those of old Saxony. Many Lutheran churches in the United States are in a “deplorable condition.” Some pastors and people have become so ignorant of and incompetent in the Scripture, they hold the opinion that the Bible no longer speaks to the life of their congregations. It is no small wonder that some Lutheran congregations have abandoned both Catechism and Bible. They consider them no longer relevant in today’s culture. Now that is a “deplorable condition” for a Lutheran church — for any church. The need for Scripture and Catechism is as strong now as at any time. The current need may be stronger even than in 1528.

Meeting this great need of the Church and in our culture too, dear reader, begins with you. Pick up your Bible and read it every day. Indeed, may you hardly lay it down. May Lutherans become a people who teach their children well by faithfully reading Scripture through the lens of the Catechism. This is the exhortation God delivered to faithful people in ages past:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deut 6:7).

Catechesis never ends. It is how we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our might (Deut 6:5). Being able to teach, correctly handling the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15), is the privilege and duty of every parent, let alone each Sunday School teacher and pastor.

Teaching the Word to your children begins with learning it yourself. Read your Bible so that it may instruct you at all times and in all places: when you sit, while you walk, when you lie down, and when you rise. As you read, use your new reading glasses. Read catechetically. Look for the Ten Commandments — not just in Exodus and Deuteronomy, but throughout the Bible. See how the Creed may be found almost everywhere in the Bible. Note the teachings about prayer in all of Scripture that are so perfectly prayed in that prayer our Lord taught us to pray. Discover the Sacraments in passages other than those we always use.

In such catechetical reading, parents, the Holy Spirit will give you the wisdom to teach your children well. Reading through the lens of the Catechism, Sunday School teachers, will enrich your curriculum. Using your new reading glasses, pastors, will provide you with catechetical references for every sermon you preach from now on. Doing so will reinforce what our children learn at home and in the classroom.

While I still have all ten favorite books of my childhood, I now have just two favorite books: The Holy Bible and The Book of Concord. The latter, of course, holds both the Small and Large Catechisms, as well as our other foundational guides to Scripture and sound doctrine. As much as those documents speak to me, it is the Catechism that I see on every page of the Bible.

May the eyes of your heart be enlightened through this method of reading God’s Word so that you may know what that hope is to which He has called you (Eph 1:18) — and so that you may teach it to your children.

Subscribe to Connections Magazine.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 19 Jun 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 3:23–25a

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

3. Likewise, “all have sinned” and “are justified” without merit “by his grace,” “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” “in his blood” (Rom 3:23-25a).

Pulling It Together

The justification of sinners is received as God’s gift, not because of religious or moral activity. Justification is a legal term, appropriated by the Apostle Paul to express God’s great gift. It means that a person is vindicated of a crime. So, let us imagine what that looks like. You are served an arrest warrant, brought to the courthouse, and appear before the judge. The judge reads the charge: you have committed crimes against the state—and there is substantial evidence to prove the veracity of the charge. You are indeed this criminal, and the penalty is death. As your life flashes before your eyes, you try to make sense of the words you now hear coming from the judge’s mouth. You have been forgiven your crime. No fee need be paid—not even court costs. No jail time or community service will be required. It is only the good grace of the judge, freely offered to you, that now makes you a just person. Now, the judge is not being impulsive or unjust. Your punishment has been paid by another; the court is satisfied.

This is what happens through the grace of God by the blood of Christ. You are guilty as charged but the Judge absolves you because Christ has satisfied the righteous requirement of the law. You have been justified “by faith” in the Son of God. Christ earned your salvation. Not you. Christ alone.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the great gift of your redeeming love. 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.

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/summaries.html Mon, 18 Jun 18 00:00:00 -0500

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John 1:29 

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

2. And he alone is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29); and God has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6).

Pulling It Together

In this great, narrative sentence, there is one subject and a countless number of direct objects. Let us begin with the objects of the subject. Sinners are the direct objects in the story of God. Since the beginning, sin had been met with sacrifice to appease God’s holiness. So much blood has been spilled for a world of sinners, “for all have sinned” (Rom 3:23). As God is the subject of creation, acting on chaos to bring order, he is also the subject of recreation, bringing forgiveness and justification where there had been judgment and alienation. 

Sinners could not take away the sin of the world; the direct object cannot act upon itself. But God laid the sin of us all upon himself, bearing the iniquity of a world of lost sinners, the objects of his love.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your great and saving love. 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.

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/summaries.html Sat, 16 Jun 18 00:00:00 -0500

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Romans 4:20–25

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles – part 19

The Second Part

The second part deals with the articles that relate to the office and work of Jesus Christ, to our redemption.

The first and chief article:

1. That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins, and was raised again for our justification (Rom 4:25).

Pulling It Together

Faith in God is essential. Without faith, we are like ships tossed about on the waves (James 1:6). But if Christ was not raised from the dead, our f