The Glory Has Departed

Bethany Lutheran Hymnal Blog


Bethany Lutheran Worship on Ustream

Sunday, 10 AM
Central
The Lutheran Hymnal. KJV.
Mid-Week Advent Services, 7PM Central


email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com.


All Bethany Lutheran Media Ministries

Navigation for Luther's Sermons, Lenker Edition

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

First MidWeek Advent Service, 2020. The Two Natures of Christ

The Annunciation, by Norma A. Boeckler

Mid-Week Advent Service, 
December 2, 2020, 7 PM Central

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

https://video.ibm.com/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship


The Hymn # 240             Father Most Holy  
   
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody            Psalm   14                           p. 124
The Lection            

Sermon Hymn # 410                      Jesus Lead Thou On


         
God in the Flesh - God Incarnate
 

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer                            p. 44
The Collect for Peace                                           p. 45
The Benediction                                                   p. 45

Isaiah 7:10 Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


Announcements and Prayers

  • Luther's Galatians is in print, full color, at Lulu. I will be sending them out at my cost. Thank you Norma Boeckler, Alec Satin, and Janie Sullivan.
  • Walther, the American Calvin is next. Then Creation Flowers, then the Bible text and translations.
  • In treatment - Christina Jackson, Mary Howell, Rush Limbaugh.
  • Doctor's care - Pastor Shrader, Randy Anderson.
  • Pastor K and Doc Lito Cruz - dealing with diabetes.
  • Our media ministries - Alec Satin, Norma Boeckler, Travis and Lauren Cartee, Pastor Jordan Palangyos.


God in the Flesh - God Incarnate

One Way To Hear the Scriptures
There are only two ways to read and understand the Scriptures. One is to see them as God's direct speaking to man through the Holy Spirit, the Bible being His actual Word, full of power, clarity, mercy, and forgiveness, but also full of wrath for those who reject its truth.

The Alternative Way To Hear Them
The other way to read the Scriptures is to see them as a collection of documents about God (not by God through His Spirit). They are interesting in some respects but not normative since they are ancient and from other cultures. However, they are a good specialty for those academics who lost their faith or never had any. All Biblical scholarship today (with almost no exceptions) is done from a purely rationalistic perspective, even to the point of ignoring the obvious harmony of the Bible and its external and internal proofs. External proofs match the Scriptures with documentation showing the truth of the passage, such as the title of the mayor of a town. Internal proofs are the unity of the books from so many sources and the power of the Word itself.

This alternative view is often the result of those who hold their authority to be greater than that of the Word of God. They may say all the right things about inerrancy, infallibility, and other terms - not just inspired but plenary inspiration - and yet land on the rationalistic side because the authority or tradition comes first. Notice that in the name of science, the Virgin Birth of Christ is denied as a mark of scientific purity, ignoring the context alone and denying the Word in the name of the false god science.

Modern, eloquent but rationalistic theologians will treat the Virgin Birth as symbolic. Once they consign everything to symbols, they can talk or write about them all day.

God Became Man - The Great Miracle
We should never grow weary of thinking about Jesus as both God and man, Two Natures united in One Person. When people distort the Isaiah passages, they are really saying, "Jesus was just a man, a good man, an exceptional teacher, maybe even a revolutionary, or labor organizer, but just a man."

This is a mystery or wonder revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Word, not something we can figure out from our rather puny perspective. But that perspective should help us see how great this is, that God would live among us, suffer, and die for us, and rise from the dead.

Their effort to turn the passage into a "young woman will conceive" is foolish. This sign from God is unlike our weak modern version. "My lucky number is 15, so when the Buddhist priest showed me the secret number, I knew it was a sign from God." (Actual quotation, Eastern Religion Class. Tricksters elicit information then used it later to prove divinity. My wife and I heard this done with a medium.)

God is angry with the hypocrite Ahaz for rejecting a miracle from God. In His anger, God directly reveals that His miracle will be a Virgin giving birth to a son. The rationalists have this as a young woman giving birth. (First edition of the RSV, now a footnote, just as bad in many modern versions. NIV - Isaiah 7:14 Or young woman).


Where is the miracle? Those who deny miracles, of course, like this young woman interpretation, which leads them into Unitarianism and Atheism. I have known clergy who followed that path, from Church Growth to aggressive Atheism.

The Star alerted all of Jerusalem and the Wise Men that something divine was at work, and the Wise Men visited. This was the marker, like many such markers today, only far more celestial. The Name of this Son was already in the Hebrew Scriptures, God with Us.

9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom...
Isaiah 9 also predicts the work of the Messiah, using titles to fill in the meaning of this Virgin Birth. They take us back to Genesis, where God promised that Abraham's descendants would be like the stars in the sky. That is impossible in human history, but it is true of the Kingdom established by his line, which led to Christ.

This is a good example of the internal proof of the Scriptures, because the narrative begins at Creation and continues into the Roman Empire, with that tiny Kingdom transformed into millions and spreading across the earth.



1. O Jesus Christ,
Thy manger is
My paradise at which my soul reclineth.
For there, O Lord,
Doth lie the Word
Made flesh for us; herein Thy grace forth shineth.

2. He whom the sea
And wind obey
Doth come to serve the sinner in great meekness.
Thou, God's own Son,
With us art one,
Dost join us and our children in our weakness.

3. Thy light and grace
Our guilt efface,
Thy heavenly riches all our loss retrieving.
Immanuel,
Thy birth doth quell
The power of hell and Satan's bold deceiving.

4. Thou Christian heart,
Whoe'er thou art,
Be of good cheer and let no sorrow move thee!
For God's own Child,
In mercy mild,
Joins thee to Him; - how greatly God must love thee!

5. Remember thou
What glory now
The Lord prepared thee for all earthly sadness.
The angel host
Can never boast
Of greater glory, greater bliss or gladness.

6. The world may hold
Her wealth and gold;
But thou, my heart, keep Christ as thy true Treasure.
To Him hold fast
Until at last
A crown be thine and honor in full measure.



The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #81

This hymn expresses the great truth of the Bible, that the divine and human natures united in Christ mean everything for us. He knows our needs and frailty, because He lived our life and was subjected to every temptation but was without sin (Hebrews 4). His power is unlimited, so that He can pray to the Father for us, as He does when we pray in His Name. Miracles still happen and they take place by God's will, according to His wisdom.





Selling Concordia Publishing House


Mrs. Ichabod and I watched the Paul McCain funeral live-streamed yesterday. 

The Steadfast Lutheran Lobby wanted to claim McCain "brought the Book of Concord back to life for the laity." If so, he should have brought it back to life for the clergy, the professors, the CPs, the DPs, and Synod President Matt the Fat.




Posturing is not the same as believing. His Holiness, who had the convention give him the power to kick out anyone talking about doctrine "apart from his or her appointed office," making him a regular pope. But there were predicted not only the Antichrist but also the little Antichrists.





"Last but certainly not least, there was special joy to understand that we all hold to objective justification—that God declared the world righteous through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and that we all recognize it to be the urgent mission of the church to take this gospel to the entire world."

https://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-lcms-els-wels-and-elca-agree-on.html

How can someone bring the Lutheran Confessions back to life while being part of the Objective Justification lobby that took over the LCMS and WELS? They repudiate the Chief Article of the Christian Faith and claim their cowardly Calvinism is the "Chief Article."

One layman, who knows Missouri and WELS, observed, "Seminex took over both synods." 

I added, "And Fuller's Church Growth followed the wreckage to finish off the remains."

He said, "Yes."

The current issue of Christian News, aka Calvinist Blues, complains about the CPH John commentary. Does the editor not know that Concordia Publishing House is a warning label?

Recent CPH Debacles 

Matt the Fat turned his awkward eulogy into a commercial for Concordia Publishing House, gushing that it was producing the greatest Lutheran "Confessional" books in the last ten years, more than any other era in history.




How about that Dogma-tanic, the gigantic scrapbook of articles from living and dead LCMS grandees - like Ralph Bohlmann? The Dogma-tanic features once again - Objective Justification from the fetid wombs of Pietism and Calvinism.




Or the Not-So Small Catechism, once again featuring Objective Justification - to mess up the minds of kids who thought they escaped the WELS Kuske catechism.




CPH's Gospel of Mark disowns the ending of Mark. They were deep into the Historical Critical Method long ago. Playing crack-the-whip with Mark is just one more indication of their lost condition.

Lower Criticism (against reliable manuscripts) paved the way for Higher Criticism (treating the Word of God as another book, a hopeless flawed and conflicted book - much like the critics).






Tuesday, December 1, 2020

You Saw It Here First




I decided tonight's news is a series of head-fakes. When the storm is upon us, it will be like this, as foreseen by the Mickey Mouse Club.

Paul T. McCain Funeral Starts at 1 PM Central - Link Is Here

 



Link for Live Streaming Funeral, Paul T. McCain


Nihil nisi bonum

Sending Out Luther's Galatians Today


 

Today I am ordering the printed Understanding Luther's Galatians for a number of people. The book includes artwork by Norma A. Boeckler and my comments.

A Kindle version was previous published but the print version went to Lulu. Once all the servers connect, the print version will be seen on Amazon too. 

The lowest price for the printed version will be from me.



Monday, November 30, 2020

Enjoy the Biden Cabinet Reports. Laugh Hard, Because It Is Over. My Wife Said, "Over? Over?" I Replied, "Over. Over. Over. Over. Over. Over."

 



I said, "Keep up with the real news." 

I told Ranger Bob, who was lower than a snake's belly today, "You are cordially invited to stop by and say, "You were right all along!"

The truth wins.




White House

 

All Our Lutheran Media Ministries - One Convenient Page

 


Christian Art


Norma Boeckler's Christian Art

Norma Boeckler's Christian Art Books



Books 

Alec Satin's Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry - Over 240 Free PDFs

Alec Satin's Printed Books on Amazon - More Than 70 Titles

Pastor Jackson's Printed Books on Amazon and Lulu

Classic Lutheran Books on Facebook - Group Page for Those Who Join




Audio Ministry

Travis and Lauren Cartee - Subscribe to Audio Gutenberg YouTube Recordings

Audio Gutenberg Blog Posts the Recordings - Convenient for Listeners




World Missions

Bethany Lutheran Mission in the Philippines - Pastor and Mrs. Jordan Palangyos

Facebook Page - Bethany Lutheran Mission - Pastor Palangyos

How To Send Money to Our Mission

Facebook Page - Free Books for Lutheran World Missions Group Page for Those Who Join





Many Extra Links Are Found Here

Free PDFs, Locations of Luther's Works in Various Languages, Lenski PDFs

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

Essential Lutheran Books - List

Dropbox links to free public domain books, Lenski Commentaries, Keil-Delitzsch, Luther's Sermons,
plus free books edited and written by Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Blog Graveyard Expands


"Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the truckload." - Old Journalist Saying

LutherQuest (sic) and Steadfast Lutherans (sic) are on life support now, barely able to publish soporific filler.

This advice may be too late, but I always tell my graduate students, "Copy and paste is not research or writing, and it will one day get you into trouble when people copy your timeless tosh and compare it on Google."

How much synodical wisdom is copied and pasted from Fuller?


I Laughed at This Concept - The Citizen Journalist - Now Coming True

"The article on which the Church... oh, I am too sleepy after coffee with cream and danish."


My adventures in journalism began at Coolidge Junior High, so English class was journalism class, and I helped with the student paper in a small way. Classes with credit came along later when I decided to add enough MA hours to qualify for teaching writing. True, I already had books and articles, plus teaching about 70 classes on how to write. But the suits who run higher education like credit, so I took some classes  until I reached 20 hours.

One expert predicted, around 2006, that that citizen journalists would take over as the big newspaper empires collapsed. I did not think it would happen, even though I published independently to sneak past the watchful Objective Justification dragons. One morbidly obese bureaucrat made sure that even my ads on Logia were banned.

Blogging made it easy to publish the religion page and I had some hopes that more would do the same independently. But nothing is too good to be spoiled by their Father Below. The founder of Intrepid Lutherans was the first to bail out, doubtless pushed by the new Martin Luther, Mirthless Mark Schroeder. The nauseating Steadfast Lutherans began as lapdogs of OJ and Matt the Fat Harrison.

Nevertheless, the collapse of the mainlines will continue with the soi-disant Conservative Lutherans chanting their eulogies to their departing co-conspirators.

Meanwhile, the political blogs have taken off with great energy and resources. I find the big conservative sites rather tame and watered down. Independent writers with their own little blogs are providing what was predicted years ago. Everyone can record, research, and publish.

The reaction of the overfed yet under-read church bureaucrats has not been, "We should fix this!" No, they agree - "We must silence this."

This is how church bureaucrats see themselves.




Sunday, November 29, 2020

Video and Text for Advent 1, 2020

 



Video of the Advent 1, 2020 service

          The entire service with hymns, liturgy, and sermon.


First Sunday in Advent, 2020. Romans 13 - Armor and Darkness.


The First Sunday in Advent, 2020

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

https://video.ibm.com/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship



The Hymn #19              All Praise To Thee Who Reigns Above
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 
The Gospel 
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #290      We Have A Sure Prophetic Word - Cronenwett 

Armor and Darkness

The Hymn #306            Lord Jesus Christ Thou Hast Prepared -Cronenwett
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #68            The Advent of Our King 

Announcements and Prayers

  • Luther's Galatians is in print, full color, at Lulu. I will be sending them out at my cost. Thank you Norma Boeckler, Alec Satin, and Janie Sullivan.
  • Walther, the American Calvin is next. Then Creation Flowers, then the Bible text and translations.
  • In treatment - Christina Jackson, Mary Howell, Rush Limbaugh.
  • Doctor's care - Pastor Shrader, Randy Anderson.
  • Pastor K and Doc Lito Cruz - dealing with diabetes.
  • Our media ministries - Alec Satin, Norma Boeckler, Travis and Lauren Cartee, Pastor Jordan Palangyos.
  • Advent Service, Wednesday, 7 PM Central Standard.





KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.


 Norma A. Boeckler




First Sunday in Advent - From the Collects of Veit Dietrich

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Armor and Darkness


KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

As Luther observed, Paul teaches doctrine in Romans and also exhorts. One part is a thorough explanation of Christian doctrine. The other part is application of that doctrine.

The Apostolic Age was surrounded by darkness - the hedonism of  pagan Rome, the decline of the Empire, the influence of many Satanic religions and the persecution of Christianity. 

The similarities to our age are striking. A genteel atheism is dominant, hiding its demonic form. We only need to look at the symbols and the language. People wear and tattoo Satanic symbols. They are deeply offended by Christianity and would like to ban it in this country.

People have been cautioned not to say Merry Christmas, but some things are difficult to escape. The Mass for the birth of Christ is not hidden by holidays - because that word is derived from "holy day."

Schools now have winter breaks, but I always post them as Christmas Break, December 24-January 7, because no one gives or receives winter presents. No one has ever said Merry Winter! to me, but I anxiously await that day.

"Merry Christmas!" has become a confession of faith rather than an offhand remark, and one must think about it first and consider the consequences.

But it is fine to honor a holiday invented by a criminal and to respect all the pagan celebrations. We have become Rome, loving or tolerating every god but the One True God.

Paul used the figure of sleep because we do not think precisely when asleep, and we misunderstand and do wacky things when half-asleep. Recent events have shaken millions awake - to the extent of corruption and evil in this country. 

The apostolic church was completely surrounded by evil and roiled by false teachers within. Nevertheless, Rome failed twice - the Western Empire in the 400s, the Eastern Empire - Constantinople in 1453. But the second failure was Byzantium and it fell to the Ottoman Muslims.

That Fall of Constantinople led to Greek scholars and artists spreading Greek to Europe, the start of the Renaissance and the Reformation. So it was ironic, that the weaknesses of the Second Rome led to and contributed to the spread of the light of the Gospel, ending the Middle Ages, often called the Dark Ages of Europe.

The exhortation to wake from sleep is always timely, because the Gospel produces peace and prosperity - and we take it for granted.

Lenski, Romans, p. 801.

Because he uses so many terms expressing time one can clearly note Paul’s point. The very time in which we live at this moment must rouse us to fullest activity in heeding Paul’s admonitions. 

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Paul spent much of his adult life as a Pharisee, just as Luther was thoroughly trained as a monk and priest. In both cases, the last part of their lives was the most important and productive, and it rested upon a thorough knowledge of an incomplete truth.

Since Luther was required to study the Scriptures for his doctorate, he concentrated on that message, which is so easily lost in philosophical reveries. I have noticed on Facebook and blogs, people like to cling to philosophical language and arguments, which obscure the plain truths of the Word of God - the light.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

This is a wonderful expression on its own. Our feet take us somewhere, and the path needs to be illuminated in darkness.

There is only one Truth - the unified and harmonious truth of the Scriptures. The Scriptures judge all human books, so it is odd to find people setting aside the Scriptures to clear the path for their favorite author or cult figure. Many stumble and fall, get utterly confused because their guide was not the Word but a phase in human culture, a fad.

There can be 1,000 different human voices of wisdom, but only one true voice, one true light.

Theories are fun to explore, and the word theory comes from seeing, or looking at. As I have said many times, the theories about gardening have been completely wrong. But, starting with Creation, everything works out well. Creation tells me that the autumn leaves have a purpose. I gather them the way a squirrel gathers food for the winter. Leaves are food for the soil. Time after time the garden soil has digested leaves knee deep in early spring, but re-purposed by late spring. 

One family doubled their fruit tree crop by leaving the leaves underneath all winter, perhaps even piling up more. 

A leaf cell magnified looks like a chemical factory complex run by a giant corporation, except it is tiny and runs on its own. Mankind has all kinds of problems with basics, like building a dam that lasts. The evolution theory says the cells all developed over time to do exactly what they must, in the right order, to accomplish many different tasks. Creation says the Son is the Creating Word, and nothing was made apart from Him.

The armor of light is the truth that protects us from evil philosophies and evil activities. The righteousness of faith in Christ - and nothing else - gives us forgiveness of sin, access to Christ, and eternal life. 

We know that forgiveness through faith in Jesus is good, because He taught this Himself and Paul explained it further. It is by faith that it might be by grace. The world is enchanted with the word "grace" but the two go together, grace and faith, just as Holy Baptism and Holy Communion go together, just as the Word and the Spirit go together.

His light is 1000 times greater than darkness, but mankind is attracted  to the works of darkness, due to "newness" and taking the truth for granted. 

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

The great gift of salvation means that our energies are drawn toward what is good and helpful. Once we have seen the blessings of the Gospel, the attractions of self-indulgence are seen as worthless and dangerous. And there are many who would not join in riotous living but spend their time causing strife because of their envy.

Good habits are formed slowly, and once we see the value of them, they grow more attractive. 

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Christ is our armor of light against all the wiles of Satan, who is all darkness. 

Luther:

22. Do you ask, Why this passage to believers? As already stated, preaching is twofold in character: it may teach or it may incite and exhort.

No one ever gets to the point of knowledge where it is not necessary to admonish him  continually to urge him  to new reflections upon what he already knows; for there is danger of his untiring enemies  the devil, the world and the flesh  wearying him and causing him to become negligent, and ultimately lulling him to sleep. Peter says (1 Peter 5:8): “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” In consequence of this fact, he says: “Be sober, be watchful.” Similarly Paul’s thought here is that since the devil, the world and the flesh cease not to assail us, there should be continuous exhorting and impelling to vigilance and activity. Hence the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, the Comforter or Helper, who incites and urges to good.

23. Hence Paul’s appropriate choice of words. Not the works of darkness but the works of light he terms “armor.” And why “armor” rather than “works”? Doubtless to teach that only at the cost of conflicts, pain, labor and danger will the truly watchful and godly life be maintained; for these three powerful enemies, the devil, the world and the flesh, unceasingly oppose us day and night. Hence Job (Job 7:1) regards the life of man on earth as a life of trial and warfare.

Just as falsehoods against the Scriptures made all of us more appreciative of their truth, so the battles and hardships of life make us cling to what is good, worthwhile, noble, and eternal.

The more this takes place, the more valuable the truth is. Many times we have experienced the shunning, but for every rejection there are many more who want to have the truth confirmed and falsehood repudiated.

Then the truth, driven by the Spirit in the Word, rebukes in some cases and encourages in others.

Rewards are great in this doctrinal battle, because those who see the truth are like those who step outside and see the beginning of spring. A lot of my training was rationalistic and it separated the Old from the New Testament. The more I read Luther, who always started with the Scriptures - instead of ending with citations at odds with the dogmatic claims - the more I saw the absolute unity of the Testaments. 

I was given the task of teaching Old Testament year around, so I emphasize the Gospel in the New Testament. Some know this already, but for others - it is a shock and wonder. The "dark" passages are lit up by veins of gold that never run out. More and more is revealed.