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Acts 5:27-32

And when [the officers] had brought [the Apostles], they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
God First
Wednesday of Lent 1
17 February 2016
Worshiping only the triune God is a costly endeavor. The late Alvin Barry, President of the LCMS, told the story of attending a Lutheran worship service one Sunday while visiting missions in India. After the service was over Barry noticed two teenage girls, who were not accompanied by family. This was particularly unusual in India where families always worshiped together. He remarked to the pastor about these teenagers and, in reply, the pastor said with some reticence, "They come to worship only once a month." "Why?" That too was unusual in a tightly knit and beleaguered community.
The pastor explained to President Barry that the two girls, upon reaching home, would receive a caning from their father, who was a Hindu and did not approve of their being Christians. The caning raised welts on their backs, and it took three weeks for them to heal. Then they would come to church to hear the Word of God preached again into their hearts. Obediently, they would return home after the service to be caned once again. And so it would go. They honored God and revered His name more than their father. They laid open their backs to his discipline for the sake of hearing the holy gospel. Their heavenly Father's Word was more valuable than the word of their earthly father. What an intrepid faith! Everything begins with knowing who God is. This is what the First Commandment is about: You shall have no other gods.


Martin Luther

"The First Commandment is to shine and give its splendor to all the others. Therefore, you must let this declaration run through all the Commandments. It is like a hoop in a wreath, joining the end to the beginning and holding them all together. Let it be continually repeated and not forgotten, as the Second Commandment says, so that we fear God and do not take His name in vain for cursing, lying, deceiving, and other ways of leading men astray, or trickery. But we make proper and good use of His name by calling upon Him in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, derived from love and trust according to the First Commandment. In the same way such fear, love, and trust is to drive and force us not to despise His Word, but gladly learn it, hear it, value it holy, and honor it.
"So this teaching continues through all the following Commandments toward our neighbor. Everything is to flow from the First Commandment's power. We honor father and mother, masters, and all in authority, and are subject and obedient to them, not for their own sake, but for God's sake. You are not to regard or fear father or mother, nor should you do or skip anything because you love them. But know what God would have you do, what He will quite surely demand of you. If you skip that, you have an angry Judge. But if you do the work, you have a gracious Father." 
Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 1.326-27
Lord Christ, grant me Your grace that I might hear the word of God to keep it. Amen.
For all persecuted Christians, that they might be faithful unto death
For Dr. Daniel Gard, that God the Lord would strengthen him in his calling as President of Concordia University Chicago
For Paul Lodholz, that he might continue to gain strength as a gift from God

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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