Martin Luther

  • Psalm 46 and the Reformation

    501 years ago, Martin Luther posted 95 points of debate on a church door in Wittenberg. This was not an extraordinary event. People in his position of professor posted such things often and debated colleagues on the points in a public event. If you were to read the famed 95 theses, you would find many of them to be very disagreeable to the Lutheran faith of today. In 1517, Luther had not fully articulated a theology of salvation by grace through faith on account of Christ, but the wheels were in motion for a sweeping reform to the religious landscape of Europe and beyond.

    Luther’s contribution of writings is vast and varied. We still use his Small Catechism in Confirmation instruction. I read dozens of his essays, sermons, and books while at seminary. And we sing his hymns with frequency. His most famous hymn is “A Mighty Fortress,” a paraphrase of Psalm 46, which we’ll be studying in Bible class after worship this Sunday.

    The most familiar line of Psalm 46 is found at the beginning of verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Be still. Be calmed. Allow yourself to be taken care of. Allow God to be God.

    It’s not easy to be calm and still in today’s world. People have overflowing schedules of work and play so that many of us end up trying to multitask just to fit everything in. There is often little time for rest and reflection.

    October is nearly over. November will fly past. Before you know it, Christmas will be upon us with all of its joys and anxieties. I’d invite you to take a deep breath this week. Take a look around at life, view the sunset and the stars, and remember we have a God who is with us and protects us in the midst of uncertainty.

    God’s blessings on your week.

    Pastor Andy

  • What's God's Will for Me?

    One of the topics I get a lot of questions about is the will of God. People often wonder what God wants for their lives. Sometimes these decisions can be life altering. People often wonder: “Should I switch jobs? Should I move? Should we buy a house? Should we have a (or another) child?”

    These are tough calls. The Bible doesn’t outright give answers to these questions. So how are we to decide what to do?

    In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But how do I know if what I want is what God wants? Martin Luther once wrote the following regarding that section of the Lord’s Prayer.

    “How is God’s will done? God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.”

    There is a lot to unpack there, but I find that as I read through Luther’s words, I see that our God is at work. He is not idle. Our God is actively working to break and hinder the plans of Satan. God is actively strengthening and keeping us in the one true faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice, God’s will is done when He does something. He doesn’t depend on us. We depend on Him. He conforms us to His will. I think in essence, we can say this: when we are strengthened and kept by God’s Word, we are on the right track.

    If, in the choice you are making, one path will lead you away from God and His Word, that’s bad. God doesn’t want that. If one path will clearly lead you toward God and His word, that’s good. God longs for that.

    Of course, sometimes it is not as clear cut as that, especially with the big decisions of life. And obviously, we cannot always see how things will play out, but we can rely on God and His presence and His promises to lead us in our decisions, no matter how big or how small.

    God’s blessings on your week.

    Pastor Andy

      

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LCMS logoFirst Evangelical Lutheran Church is a member of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a family of congregations focused on bringing Christ to the nations and sharing His unconditional saving Love within our community.

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