“How to Fight the Daily Battle of Faith” – Luther

 

Martin Luther on the battle we all face daily.

Although I feel my sin and cannot have as confident and cheerful a heart as I should like, still I must permit the Word to have sway and say accordingly: “I am lord over sin, and I don’t want to know of any sin.” “Indeed,” you will say, “let your own conscience say that; it feels and experiences something far different.” That is surely true; if things followed the rule of feeling, I would surely be lost. But the Word must be valid over and beyond all of the world’s feeling and mine. It must remain true no matter how insignificant it may appear and how feebly it may be believed by me; for we all see and experience the fact that sin condemns us straightway and consigns us to hell, that death consumes us and all the world, and that no one can escape it. And you venture to speak to me of life and of righteousness, of which I cannot behold as much as a small spark! To be sure, that must be but a feeble life. Yes, indeed, but a feeble life by reason of our faith. But no matter how feeble it is, as long as the Word and a small spark of faith remain in the heart, it shall develop into a fire of life which fills heaven and earth and quenches both death and every other misfortune like a little drop of water. And the feeble faith shall tear these asunder so that neither death nor sin will be seen or felt any longer. However, to adhere to faith in the face of seeing and feeling calls for an arduous battle.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:1–2 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: How to Fight the Daily Battle of Faith | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.

 

Prophet Ezekiel Commemoration

 

Today the LCMS commemorates the Holy Prophet Ezekiel.

Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, was a priest, called by God to be a prophet to the exiles during the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 1:3). In 597 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army brought the king of Judah and thousands of the best citizens of Jerusalem — including Ezekiel — to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-16).

Ezekiel’s priestly background profoundly stamped his prophecy, as the holiness of God and the Temple figure prominently in his messages (for example, Ezekiel 9-10 and 40-48). From 593 B.C. to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 B.C., Ezekiel prophesied the inevitability of divine judgment on Jerusalem, on the exiles in Babylon, and on seven nations that surrounded Israel (Ezekiel 1–32). Jerusalem would certainly fall and the exiles would not quickly return — the just consequences of their sins.

Especially in the early part of the book, much of what the Lord “said” to His people was delivered in the form of action prophecies. In these, Ezekiel acted out representations of coming events pertaining to the fall of Judah, the destruction of the temple, and the seeming end of the Davidic line of kings. These action prophecies included the eating of the scroll (3:1-2), being struck with dumbness (3:22-27), sketching of the city of Jerusalem (4:1-3), lying on one side and then the other (4:4-8), eating restricted rations cooked on a fire of dried dung (4:9-17), and shaving his hair and beard with a sword before dividing the hair (5:1-4). Some seem a bit strange at first glance, once we understand their meaning and context, their messages are quite easily comprehended.

Once word reached Ezekiel that Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, his message became one of comfort and hope. Through him God promised that his people would experience future restoration, renewal and revival in the coming Messianic kingdom (Ezekiel 33-48).

Much of the strange symbolism of Ezekiel’s prophecies was later employed in the Revelation to Saint John. Among these are the visions of the four living creatures as seen in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4.

via Aardvark Alley: + The Holy Prophet Ezekiel +.

 

“How to Know the Mighty Power of God” – Luther

 

Wisdom from Martin Luther:

We must learn to know the power and might of God in this same Word, namely, that we are saved thereby and solely by it resist the devil’s power and all errors. For to believe firmly that I am a Christian, a child of God, and that I am saved, when I feel sin and a bad conscience; to believe that I will live eternally, endowed with a beautiful, glorious body, although I lie under the sod—that requires a divine and heavenly power and a wisdom which is not governed by any feeling or perceiving, but which can look beyond that, convinced that this is not human prattle or phantasy but that it is the Word of God, “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:1–2 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: How to Know the Mighty Power of God | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.

 

“How to Fight Your Feelings with the Word of God” – Luther

Martin Luther on using God’s Word to fight your feelings:

For if you want to judge according to what you see and feel, and if you, when God’s Word is held before you, hold your feeling against that, saying: “You are indeed telling me much, however, my heart is telling me far differently, and if you felt what I feel, you, too, would talk differently, etc.,” then you do not have God’s Word in your heart; this has been suppressed and extinguished by your own ideas, reason, and reflections. In short, when you no longer accord the Word greater validity than your every feeling, your eyes, your senses, and your heart, you are doomed, and you can no longer be helped. For this is called an article of faith, not one of your reason or wisdom, nor of human power or ability. Therefore here, too, you must judge solely by the Word, regardless of what you feel or see. I, too, feel my sin and the Law and the devil on my neck. I feel myself oppressed under these as under heavy burdens. But what am I to do? If I were to judge according to my feeling and my ability, I, together with all other men, should have to perish and despair. However, if I wish to be helped, I must surely turn about and look to the Word and say accordingly: “Indeed, I feel God’s wrath, the devil, death, and hell; but the Word V 28, p 71 conveys a different message, namely, that I have a gracious God through Christ, who is my Lord over the devil and all creatures. To be sure, I feel and see that I and all other men must rot in the ground; but the Word informs me differently, namely, that I shall rise in great glory and live eternally.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:1–2 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

Source: Daily Luther: How to Fight Your Feelings with the Word of God | CyberBrethren – A Lutheran Blog.