May 2018

Dear friends in Christ,

There is a spiritual battle taking place for the hearts and souls of people. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

Let us take comfort in this: Jesus Christ, true God from eternity and true man born of Mary, humbled himself, being obedient to His Father's will to be crucified for the sins of the world. Having accomplished the victory over sin, death and the devil, by His sacrifice and having taken up His life again by the resurrection, God the Father exalted this Jesus to the highest place in heaven where He is now seated at the right hand of God.

Through the work of the Holy Spirit you have been given the gift of salvation by faith. Jesus has won the victory and sin, death and the devil have no power over you. God wants all people to be saved and to come to know salvation. And He has given us, the members of the church, the mission to bring the message of the Good News of Christ to the world.

The theme for this month's TLO Disciple is Exalted. While Christ is not visible to us, he is enthroned at the right hand of God. And He rules over all things, including His Church Militant on earth and the Church Triumphant who are already now in heaven.   I pray this month's TLO Disciple will encourage you for Christ has not only accomplished your salvation, He reigns.

Pastor James Kroonblawd

How is it with you?
By Rev Bart Day
There is only one Church. We confess this in the communion liturgy when we say that we are lauding and magnifying God's glorious name with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven. The one Church consists of two parts: those of us still on this side of glory who are waiting for the completion of the good work begun in us and those who have come to their reward. We sometimes refer to ourselves as the visible church and those already in heaven as the invisible church. We also speak of them as the Church Triumphant and of ourselves as the Church Militant, which is to say that we are still fighting. They are at peace and without sin. We are at peace with God and our sins are forgiven, but our sin still clings to us. The saints in heaven don't fight. We do fight and we must fight.

My Daily Devotion--from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Dr. Stephen J Carter

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

In many parts of America, now is the time for heavy snowstorms. Snow for building snow forts and snowmen - the delight of all red-blooded American children. Snow to be shoveled and reshoveled - the plague of all middle-aged men. 

A little four-year-old boy named David recently asked his mother, "Why does God let it keep snowing so much?" The mother's answer is worth pondering. She told David, "God is making it snow because He thinks we've been going too fast and should slow down."

Read more

From the Bible

Philippians 2:5-11
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Martin Luther's comment on Psalm 118

Psalm 118:16-18
The right hand of the Lord is exalted, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly! I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord . The Lord has chastened me sorely, but He has not given me over to death.

Martin Luther
This is the joyful song of the righteous. It is sung by all the saints in their tabernacles, that is, where they gather and dwell. The psalmist refers especially to the righteous in the New Testament, where throughout the churches the Gospel of Christ's great miracles is preached. Mark well, this is a song of the righteous, of the believers, not of the godless. For he who does not believe but puts his trust in men cannot sing this song; nor can he understand a word of it, though he may prattle it in cathedrals and cloisters, where Sunday after Sunday this beautiful song is shamefully mistreated and mutilated. The godless sing in their hearts: "The right hand of man does valiantly; the right hand of princes is exalted." For they must sing as they have been trained. Kind does not vary from kind.

From Martin Luther

The First Commandment places our children and descendants under God's protection and providence, as God himself says, "I show mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments" [Exod. 20:6]. We ought rightfully to believe these exalted and comforting words of the Divine Majesty.

Though our faith be weak, we nevertheless rely on God's honor that he can and will do what he says and promises.

More on Psalm 118

Martin Luther

Secondly, the right hand is exalted, soars high, overcomes, and always gains the victory. That is to say: Believers not only have this consolation from God, that they are rid of their sins and righteous before Him; they also receive help from Him, so that they finally overcome the devil, man, and the world, and are thus delivered from death, hell, and every evil. They do not need the help of men or princes; for this is unnecessary, nor could it perform such great works and miracles. The great and glorious hand of God performs such exalted miracles and helps us in every need. And if we die, His hand will really lead us to a life that has no end. God's right hand is so exalted that neither tribulation nor distress, neither sword nor famine, neither angels nor princes can pull it down (Rom. 8:35-39). If we cling to it with a firm faith, as all the righteous do, we are just as exalted; and neither tribulation nor distress, nor prince, nor devil, neither fire nor water nor any other creature can subdue us. Victory will be ours. But whoever relies on the arm of man and puts his confidence in the hand of princes must plunge into the abyss of hell, though he were sailing above the clouds or sitting in heaven.

Luther, M. (1999). Luther's works, vol. 14: Selected Psalms III. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 14, pp. 82-83). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

"Sit at My right hand."

Martin Luther

One word exalts Him to the position of a glorious King! He is not merely a king who rules over all men, but one who is above the heavens, angels, and anything else that is subject to God. Even the angels must call Him their Lord, which they also do according to Luke 2:11.

How glorious is Thy name in all the lands!

Martin Luther

A name like that is outstanding, great, and immeasurably glorious. Who ever heard of ascribing to a man on earth a name as great and glorious as the one ascribed to this Lord and Ruler? The Roman emperor and king, the pope, and even the Turkish emperor are like the king of spades in comparison with this Lord and Ruler. They might have great titles, might be called high and mighty, invincible, most gracious and the like. But this King is preached in all the lands as true God and man, a powerful Lord and Ruler, to whom everything must be subjugated and subjected, heaven and earth and all that is therein, angels, men, devils, death and life, sin and righteousness.

Till I make Thy enemies Thy footstool.

This must be a rare and peculiar kingdom. It is to be superior to all dominion and power on earth; and yet it seems such a sloppy affair as though what has been said and boasted about it were a lie pure and simple. How do you harmonize the statement that this King is to sit at the right hand of God and is to be almighty God and Lord with the fact that He is always to have many enemies and to meet with resistance of various sorts? Indeed, He is to be surrounded by enemies, as David also says later on: "Rule in the midst of Thy enemies." How is it possible to say this of such a powerful King and the Lord of all creation? Why should He endure those who thirst to fight Him and who show themselves as enemies? I would say: "Dear David, you are drunk or crazy and foolish! You begin in such an exalted manner, and with one word you swiftly raise this Lord above all things to the rank of the Divine Majesty. But now you make Him so weak as to have enemies who attack Him as long as they last."

Making a faithful confession
by Rev. Matthew Harrison

The world is starting to perk up its ears. Reports of Christians fleeing cities in Iraq; pictures of Islamic militants marking the doors of the faithful as a sign that they must leave or be killed; stories of men being killed, women raped, children beheaded: All are now in the news ... and all are for the sake of Christ.

We mourn. We pray. And yet we wonder, "What can I do? What does this matter to me?"

*      Repent. There may well come a day when we face the same suffering that has befallen the Christians in Iraq. And so we learn from them, pray for them and repent for our own lack of faith, for our confidence in passing, transitory things rather than in the holy things of God (2 Thessalonians 1).
*     Remember. Persecution reminds us that the world is not our friend and it is not our home. We are neither Iraqi Christians nor American Christians. We are simply Christians, citizens of a better land, a different kind of country, of heaven itself (1 Peter 2:11).
*     Ready. We are called to vigilance because we know that faithfulness and persecution go hand-in-hand. We prepare now; we do not wait. We have Scriptures to learn, catechisms to study and hymns to memorize so that - if God in His infinite wisdom allows this suffering to befall us, too, one day - we are emboldened by the Word of God, which is in our hearts and on our lips (Rom. 10:9ff).
*     Rejoice. On Aug. 10, the Church remembers St. Lawrence, who kept and distributed the church's goods and alms. When the prefect of Rome demanded that Lawrence turn over the church's treasury, Lawrence made a faithful confession, showing the prefect the widowed and orphaned, the blind and lame, saying, "These are the treasures of the Church." For his fidelity, Lawrence was burned - roasted alive - over a gridiron, cheerfully remarking after some time, "It is well done. Turn me over" (1 Peter 1:3-8).

That is the kind of confidence with which we enter the days ahead, the times of persecution that we know are coming, that are here even now.

Issues, Etc. Encore feature
The Humiliation and Exaltation of Jesus 

by Dr. Steven Hein of the Concordia Institute for Christian Studies

Did Jesus Really Visit Hell? If Yes, Why?
by Dr. Jerald C. Joersz

In the Apostles' Creed (and also the Athanasian Creed), we confess that after Jesus died He descended into hell. Where in the Bible is this taught? Why did Jesus go there?

Extending Christ's Mercy to Refugees
By Roger Drinnon

Ongoing violence in the Middle East has led to a mass exodus of refugees - an estimated 4 million people have been forced to leave their homes in Syria alone. Others have fled Iran, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries due to persecution by militant groups like the Islamic State.



Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Send an email to Pastor Kroonblawd by clicking here.


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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