August 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

This month's TLO Disciple's theme is "Greater."  Jesus Christ is greater than Adam, Abel, Abraham, Aaron, Jacob and Moses; Greater than the devil's schemes and our sin; Greater than David, Greater than Solomon; and Greater than the Temple.

Alfred Edersheim wrote, "The Man of Nazareth has, by universal consent, been the mightiest Factor in our world's history; alike politically, socially, intellectually, and morally. If He be not the Messiah, there has at least been none other, before or after Him. If He be not the Messiah, the world has not and never can have a Messiah."

Jesus is worthy of your trust because His love for you is greater than all others. As John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

As you meditate on this month's TLO Disciple, let the Word of Christ prepare you for receiving the mystery of the Sacrament of Holy Communion firmly convinced in faith that the bread that we break in this heavenly meal is a participation into the death of Christ for us and the wine we drink is the blood shed of Jesus shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

Come and worship

Pastor Kroonblawd

The Second Adam                          
"Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.  The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."  1 Corinthians 15:45-49

A Devotion from Lutheran Hour Ministries 

"Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one Man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:19
In 1585, under the leadership of Sir Walter Raleigh, a colony was established on Roanoke Island off the North Carolina coast. When supply ships came from England in 1590, no trace of the colonists could be found.  Click to read entire devotion from With Jesus Every Day.
Greater than Abel
"and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."   Hebrews 12:24
Bible Study with Luther
based on Genesis 6:1-8

The Lord is ever faithful to His promises. He promised the Seed of the woman, our Lord and Savior Jesus, to Adam and Eve. Even though the descendants of Seth were led astray to follow in the sins of the Cainites, chasing after fleshly beauty and strength rather than abiding in the promise of God, still the Lord provided for the Seed. He looked favorably upon Noah out of pure grace, so that the from Noah's lineage that Savior would come to save us, sinful sons and daughters of Adam, through the shedding of His blood. Read more.

Wounded Souls Made Whole
By Chaplain Daniel Gard
Since 2001, America has engaged in a long war against terror. Christ alone provides comfort to this new generation of veterans who has left home, served and returned. Read more  

Greater than Abraham
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?"
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
-John 8:53, 58

Greater than Aaron
"Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?" Hebrews 7:11
"...but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:24-25

O God, You graced Your servant Queen Esther not only with beauty and elegance but also with faith and wisdom. Grant that we, too, might use the qualities that You have generously bestowed on us for the glory of Your mighty name and for the good of Your people, that through Your work in us, we may be advocates of the oppressed and defenders of the weak, preserving our faith in the great High Priest who intercedes on our behalf, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The Dangers of Complaint
by the Rev. Richard C. Eyer
"And the people complained . . ." (Num. 11:1) As we read the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament, it is striking to notice how often the people of God complained about congregational life as God had given it. They complained about not having the foods they preferred over what God had given. They complained about all they had left behind in Egypt when Moses led them out into the wilderness. Even Moses' brother and sister, Miriam and Aaron, complained about Moses, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?" (Num. 12:2). It seems that complaint is simply the way of congregational life even between brothers and sisters who share the same faith. But the congregation of Israel paid a price for it. Most of them never got to the Promised Land and God struck them down for their unfaithfulness. As punishment, Miriam acquired leprosy from God as Aaron begged, "Oh, my Lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned" (12:11). Read more

Greater than Jacob
Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock."  Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."   
- John 4:12-14

Greater than Moses
"Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses-as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope."   
- Hebrews 3:1-6

Hebrews - Concordia Commentary
by Kleinig, John
The Book of Hebrews is one of encouragement, hope, and confidence. Jesus Christ is shown to be our great High Priest, the greater Moses, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies, the sacrifice for the world's sins. By faith, we, like those listed in the well-known passage in chapter 11, place our hope in God.
This commentary is built on the common agreement that this book is a written sermon by an unknown speaker. John Kleinig, the author of this Concordia Commentary, proposes an interpretation of the text that uses a new kind of liturgical rhetoric, a new method of discourse analysis, and a new consideration of the context and purpose of the homily.
May this commentary encourage you to continue to place your hope in "Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2 ESV). Click to learn more and/or purchase.

Greater than the devil's schemes and our weakness

"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
- 1 John 4:4

From Bitterness to Joyfulness
By Barb Below
Bitterness is an ugly thing. It is not attractive when displayed and causes other people to feel uncomfortable, at the very least. However, we all know bitterness. It has lived in us, crept up on us, held us hostage, and destroyed relationships and opportunities. It is a powerful, invisible beast that can eat you from the inside out and is a favorite tool of the devil.
I have been bitter at God in the past. Have you? Twenty years ago, at the age of 34, I was angry and bitter at God that I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was bitter, for a time, that I was going to lose out on so much in life and not be able to have all I dreamed of....or so I thought (turns out I was wrong...really wrong). You might have felt bitterness in the past for some other matter or situation. Bitterness is the same in all of us though as it blinds us from truth and love. It is hard to see joy when looking thru the lens of bitterness.
But thanks be to God that He is greater than all the devil's schemes and ways and more powerful than our weaknesses. He promises to hear us when we pour out our soul to Him, comforts us with His peace and fills us with joyfulness.
September 2 is the annual Commemoration of Hannah. Hannah, wife of Elkanah, was barren for years and deeply anguished, but later was blessed with a son, Samuel (and many more children). Through the merciful, divine love of God, Hannah went from bitterness to joyfulness. Even in Hannah's "great anguish and grief" and "weeping bitterly" she did not turn from God but kept praying to Him. Despite difficult circumstances, she went to the temple and poured out her soul. What a great example for all of us.
Learn more about Hannah here.  Read her prayer (1 Samuel 2:1-10) which so beautifully includes a reminder to not trust in your own strength but to rejoice in the Lord, your Rock who "raises the poor from the dust" and "lifts the needy from the ash heap."

Greater than David
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
"'The Lord said to my Lord,
"Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet"'?
If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
-Matthew 22:41-46

Greater than Solomon
"The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here." 
-Luke 11:31

Greater than the Temple
"I tell you, something greater than the temple is here."
-Matthew 12:6

Break a vase, and the love that
                reassembles the fragments
                               is stronger than that love
                                               which took its
                symmetry for granted
                               when it was whole.
-Derek Walcott

The work of re-creation and rebuilding
is greater than
the work of
creation and building.
Martin  Chemnitz, Loci Theologici. Translated by J.A.O. Preus.
(St. Louis: Concordia, 1989): 154.

Greater than Jonah

The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

- Matthew 12:41

The Call to Nineveh: Jonah's and Ours
By R. Reed Lessing
The Lord is asking you, dear reader, right now, "Shall I have compassion upon the great city of Nineveh?" But your answer, just like mine, more often than not, goes something like this. "Lord, those people are so different! I'm just not comfortable talking to them. And besides, there are a lot of other folks who can do the job much better than I can!"
So what does the Lord do? In the fullness of time He sent the Perfect Missionary. His name is Jesus. And Jesus says in Matt. 12:41, "One greater than Jonah is here." And the narrative begins again!
Talk about shock and awe!

Read entire article
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
 -- John 15:13

Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Click here to send Pastor Kroonblawd an email.

TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month.  Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at 651-454-7235 or the Church Office via email.
Calendars, volunteer information, serving groups and the like will accompany the TLO Together, on the last Wednesday of the month. Click here to subscribe to TLO Together .  This publication is also mailed upon request.

Soli Deo gloria

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