Category Archives: Martin Luther

The Sweetest Scripture Verse


“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.”  – by ?
 
The Quote! 
Anyone know who wrote that quote?  I think whoever it was, is right on.  And I think we need to keep this in mind especially during times of persecution. We have all been there, haven’t we?  Someone says false things about you behind your back?  Someone bullies you at school or in the workplace?  Most times words hurt more than fists.
 
Just Like Christ! 
But we are to be Christ-like to our neighbors even if they fall soooo incredibly short of God’s morality.  A true Christian and follower of Christ will actually become more Christ-minded when people rub them the wrong way.  Perhaps this is part of God’s plan – sufferings lead to perseverance, perseverance to character and character to hope (Romans 5:3-4).  Maybe these hurtful people are placed into our lives for our benefit because they help us to realize our own shortcomings.
 
Forgiveness 
We need to overlook the offense and instead remember the all too numerous times God has forgiven us.  A simple act of love can change a boulder of a heart into a softer one; soft enough to be molded into something new by our artistic Creator.  Your heart is the softest place on earth, so take care of it.  Stay soft, it looks beautiful on you!
 
And by the way, the opening quote was said by Martin Luther.
 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

– Jesus 

 

That could very well be the sweetest verse in all of scripture.
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Prayer


Prayer

Boston Marathon Memorial
Boston Marathon Memorial

When Mother Teresa died at the age of eighty-seven, she reportedly left behind an estate that consisted of a prayer book and three saris.  That’s it!  Eighty seven years of accumulating!

We pray for silver, but God gives us gold instead – Martin Luther

This may be the only writing you have seen with Martin Luther and Mother Theresa in back to back statements!

Prayer invites God into your world
Prayer is the language of the soul
Prayer is transformative
Prayer is part of your decision making process
Prayer is part of your life
Prayer is a response to God’s promises
Prayer releases God’s power.
Prayer is timeless

Our privilege is not that He will hear us, rather that we will hear Him
Don’t give God instructions, just report for duty!
But God is interested in what you have to say
God understands plain English, and any other language we may speak
He wants to hear us speak from our heart’s, with the use of our own words
He is interested in the tiniest details of your life
He will not interrupt you
He remembers every single one of your prayers
The Lord of History has your undivided attention
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all invite you to walk and to talk with them every day

When you pray, God is making a house call
He will keep your talk confidential
Praying, spiritually joins you to a great cloud of witnesses
Your faith will be strengthened through prayer
The responses that you receive are as real as your prayers
Through your consistent prayer, Christ is building a faith in you that you were not expecting
You can never pray too much!

Boston Strong
I recently discovered what gives the people of Boston their strength. It is not in their history, their sports teams, their harbor, their economy, their social status, their water, their myriad of colleges, or their government. The answer lies in the grass roots memorial that marks the event of the Boston marathon bombing that serves as a remembrance, as a place to reflect, as a place to mourn, and as a place to heal.

In the photo above, each ribbon tied to this fence contains a prayer. Tiny heart-felt prayers. Unique prayers written by a passer-byes. Unique prayers drenched in tears from a loved one. Anonymous prayers written by someone who has no ties to the incident; no ties except compassion for those involved. And prayers written by children. Please understand fully that the term “Boston Strong” has its roots in prayer. And for this reason, this memorial is the ultimate memorial. This memorial offers hope. It offers peace. It offers strength. It offers perseverance. It offers answers. It offers a promise and the people of Boston know it.

Someday there will no doubt be a beautiful statue or fountain to mark this spot. It will be a part of Boston’s famed history just like the Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, John Hancock’s tombstone, or the Boston Massacre. It will become a stop on the tourist’s trolley line. But for now, the prayers of the people are lovingly and quietly heard at this spot. And the God who so blesses this country has heard these prayers and it is He who will ultimately bring peace and justice.

This memorial is a testament to Boston’s faith, to their strength, to their resolve, to their priorities, and to their great God. Prayer is powerful. And Boston is strong because they derive their strength through an unshakable connection to the Almighty. It is through prayer that the weak become strong. You also can tap into this strength. You can tap into it while visiting this memorial, in your own local church, in your own home, even in your vehicle. You can tap into it wherever you are. That’s the power. God’s the source. He is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. And best of all He is approachable, relational, and loving. He is “Dad.” He is Abba. He is Father.

We stand strongest and tallest on our knees. – Charles Stanley

 

 

Thanksgiving is Worship!


Thanksgiving is Worship!

We cannot give God anything but praise and thanks, for everything else we receive from Him, be it grace, words, works, Gospel, faith, and all things. Moreover, praising and thanking is also the one proper, Christian form of worshiping God.” – Martin Luther

There is no duty more urgent than giving thanks.” – Ambrose of Milan, A.D. 338-397

The purpose of thanksgiving is not so much to focus on the gift as it is to honor the Giver, and to acknowledge one’s dependence on Him as the source of all good things.

Psalm 100 is priceless for a Thanksgiving service. Here it is in a responsive format:

M: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
C: Worship the Lord with gladness;

M: Come before him with joyful songs.
C: Know that the Lord is God.

M: It is he who made us, and we are his;
C: We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

M: Enter his gates with thanksgiving
C: and his courts with praise!

M: Give thanks to him and praise his name.
C: For the Lord is good;

M: His steadfast love endures forever,
C: His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Ps 100

As far as contemporary song choices for Thanksgiving – alas, the world is your oyster. There are thousands upon thousands of contemporary songs to choose from for Thanksgiving because this genre of music tends to emphasize praise and thanks while hymns tend to emphasize teaching, scripture and doctrine. So I will only mention a few.

  1. “Give Thanks” by Henri Smith is probably not considered contemporary any longer, but if all you do right now is hymns, then this song will be earth shaking, so give it a try.
  2. “Forever” by Chris Tomlin: This is a great adaptation of Psalm 136 and also has pieces of 1 Chro 16:23, Ps 62:11, Ps 108:3-5, 1 Cor 10:13, Ps 24:8 and 2 Chro 13:12.
  3. “My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness” by Keith Getty

 

The Bible Is Alive


The Bible Is Alive

Hello Bible!
Yes, it’s alive
It speaks to me,
Hear the pure voice
Not like thunder
Like a whisper,
It beckons me
It’s inspired
It draws me near,
Speak to me now
The Living word
Double-edged sword?
Divides soul from
Spirit. Joints from
Marrow.

Hello Bible!
It has quick feet
It pursues me
Chases me down
It lights my path
It catches me
But now I’m free

Hello Bible!
It has strong hands
Powerful grip
Like Praying hands,
Lord, carry me
Bare my burden
The Word made flesh
Grabs hold of me
Kneads and molds me
Potter and clay
It lifts me up
It fills my cup

Hello Bible!
It has appeal
It draws me near
Like a magnet
Spiritual force
Or a mirror
It is faithful
Right, wonderful
Everlasting
Pure Righteousness
Bread from heaven
Take eat, take drink
It makes me think

Hello Bible!
It’s alive!
It lives and grows
Tell the whole world
It’s pure as gold
Tentacles spread
It must be read

– Based on the work of Martin Luther

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Music Is…


Music Is…

Music is the “viva cox evangelii” …
… the living voice of the Gospel

Music is powerful
Music is what feelings sound like
Music is the poetry of the air 1
Music is a gift from God that serves the WORD
Music is an outburst of the soul 2
Music is what life sounds like 3
Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends 4
Music is love in search of a word 5
Music is an explosive expression of humanity 6
Music is something we are all touched by 6

There is no such thing as “Godly style” or “unGodly style”

God preserved Psalm 22 but not the tune called “the Doe of the Morning” for a very good reason.

He who sings, prays twice 7

When words leave off, music begins. 8

When the church’s music ceases to sound, doctrine will disintegrate.9

A painter paints pictures on canvas
… A musician paints their pictures on silence.10

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.11

Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.11

Sources:
1. Richter
2. Frederick Delius
3. Eric Olson
4. Alphonse de Lamartine
5. Sidney Lanier
6. Billy Joel
7. Augustine
8. Heinrich Heine
9. Melanchton
10. Leopold Stokowski
11. Martin Luther

Luther’s Morning Prayer Song


Luther’s Morning Prayer Song

A recent post on one of Martin Luther’s prayers prompted a reader to offer his musical arrangement of Luther’s morning prayer to all.

You can grab a copy of the leadsheet here:
http://www.songsforfamilies.com/worship.html

And a copy of the MP3 here:
https://www.thrivent.com/magazine/music/collection5/index.html

Why not consider using this piece to open up your Reformation service?

Luther’s Morning Prayer – by Kevin Bueltmann

Thanks Kevin & Sibling Harmony for sharing.
http://www.siblingharmony.com/

Responsive Luther Prayer


A statue of Martin Luther on the market place ...
Image via Wikipedia

Responsive Luther Prayer

P:         Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled.
C:        My Lord, fill it.

P:         I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.
C:        I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent that my love may go out to my neighbor.

P:         I do not have a strong or firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether.
C:        O Lord, help me and strengthen my faith and trust in you.

– Martin Luther

 

I do not like this newer music


I do not like this newer music.

Here’s why:

1. It is too new; like an unknown language
2. It is not as melodious as the more established style.
3. There are so many songs that it is impossible to learn them all.
4. It creates disturbances and causes people to act in an indecent and disorderly manner.
5. It places too much emphasis on instrumental music rather than on godly lyrics.
6. The lyrics are often worldly, even blasphemous.
7. It is not needed, since preceding generations have gone to heaven without it
8. It monopolizes the Christian’s time and encourages them to stay out late
9. These new musicians are young upstarts, and some of them are lewd and loose persons.

The only problem is, the above comments were said 288 years ago (1723) in an attack against the hymns that many love today.

Wait, there’s more…

The first monk who experimented with multi part harmonies was excommunicated.

J.S. Bach almost lost his job as a church musician because some thought that his music was just plain “unsuitable” for church.

The organ was introduced to the churches of England and Scotland in the thirteenth century. It was dubbed “the devil’s bagpipe” and by the fifteenth century nearly all were destroyed.

“Why should Dr. (Isaac) Watts, or any other hymn-maker, not only take precedence over the Holy Ghost, but also thrust him (the Holy Ghost) utterly out of the church?” – noted theologian Thomas Bradbury

“We need one instrument, the peaceful word of adoration, not harps or drums or pipes or trumpets.” – St. Clement of Alexandria around 200 A.D.

St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) viewed tambourines and harps merely as instruments of crucifixion for the poor animals whose skin and gut were used to produce them.

“Mindless words, bad theology, and emotional tunes.” – 1719; said about Watts hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”

The Catholic Church’s Council of Laodicea in 367 A.D. prohibited the participation of the congregation and the use of instruments in the church service. It further provided that only the Scriptures (in Latin) could be used for singing.

In 1324 A.D. Pope John issued an edict banning all forms of polyphony (multi part singing) within the church.

I do not believe that one finds this type of bickering over music in scripture which covers over 4,000 years of history. In fact, it appears to be the opposite. Music is a beautiful thing. It soothes the soul. It is a gift of God where differences are encouraged (Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs). The people used every instrument they could get their hands on – trumpets, cymbals, tambourines, harps, lyres, and horns. Music is meant to be used as a vehicle to direct our praise toward God.

Rest assured there are a few heroes. Consider Martin Luther. He used music to shake the world. He wanted everyone to sing God’s praises – not just clergy. He wanted everyone to understand what they were singing; so he translated the songs from Latin into his people’s common language. And some theologians dispute this, but it’s possible that Luther wrote a few hymns using popular tunes of his day; again to be familiar to the common people. Furthermore, if Luther wrote a song in the year 1520, and his church sang it in 1521; then it would have been considered “contemporary music” in that day. It’s the same as us singing a song today that was written in 2010.  Stated differently, all music was once contemporary.

I suppose that this bickering and pandering and judging and discord and gossiping will never cease. It is after all, part of the sinful world that we live in. I am in fact part of this mess, what Paul would call “a chief of sinners” as I definitely have my favorite style and as much as I try not to, I’m sure that I have besmirched other styles on occasion, probably even at this website. But Heaven awaits. I wonder what type of music we will sing there?

Only scripture?
No multi part harmonies?
Only in Latin?
Only chanting allowed?
Re-written pop tunes?
No devil’s bagpipes?
Pianos forbidden?
No singing at all?
No Bach music?
No Watts music?
No drums or guitars allowed?
No hymns?
No repetition?
No contemporary music (which means that no new music can be written in heaven)?

Could there have been a few mistakes made through the centuries?  How many precious souls have been run out of church over such things?  Whose enthusiasm towards their Lord has been crushed?  Why have we continually stripped the church of its rich diversity of musical and worship expressions?

I have been blessed because there are many good pastors in my denomination that know that adherence to God’s word in our music trumps style, instrumentation, or any of the above mentioned nonsense – hand’s down.  For this I am grateful.