- it shall not return unto me void,
- but it shall accomplish that which I please,
- and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The prophet Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, used our knowledge of rain and snow to describe the work of the Word of God. The Word:
- Never returns to God void.
- Always accomplishes His will, and
- Prospers God's purpose.
There is only one possible conclusion - the Holy Spirit is always united with the Word. In other words, God never works without the Word and always accomplishes His will through the Word.
Contrary to Calvin, the father of Christian rationalism, the Gospel has a powerful effect at all times. The heir to Zwingli's rationalism imagined that the Holy Spirit was sovereign in choosing not to work at times. That is why Calvinists use the term sovereign, to emphasize this fickle nature. The king of a country may choose to go to war or not, so Calvin confused the nature of earthly traditions with God's Word and will.
Calvin's separation of Word and Spirit explains why so many quasi-Lutherans do not trust the Word. Such a wrong-headed dogma influences people to supply what God does not promise in His Scriptures. Perhaps they need to make the Word relevant to the times. Or, they may need to explain the Word of God so that it makes sense to human reason.
Reasonable explanations do not apply to the mysteries revealed by the Spirit in the Word. The Holy Trinity is revealed, not explained. The Two Natures in Christ are taught by the Word, not made reasonable by man. Holy Communion is expounded by the Word, and not subject to human deductions and logic.
That does not mean leaving our brains at home or in the church narthex, but using God's gifts to understand the Word of God in its plain, clear meaning. Every time I hear a dogma contrary to Scripture, the rationale comes from a long history of some people drilling their followers on the clear meaning NOT being what they think it is.
The Rose Gardens in Bloom
Last year we began the first rose garden and expanded it from 8 to 16 roses. The ingredients were:
- Jackson Mulch turning the lawn into compost.
- Uncle Jim's Worm Farm's red wigglers helping the effort.
- No insecticides, no herbicides, and no fungicides. The only spraying was water.
We are experiencing heavy rains this week. The formerly empty rain barrels are now full. The KnockOut roses have at least 400 blooms on them. Last year's hybrid tea roses are blooming and the new roses are budding.
The mulch layer is a massive damp blanket of organic matter, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, and earthworms. The rain fertilizes the roses with nitrogen while giving all the soil creatures a boost. Their increased population traps more nutrition in the top layer of soil and feeds it to the roots.
Our helper kept the projects moving along by showing up for mulching and digging. Mrs. Ichabod cheered the design and the number of roses. When I was done ordering and an email offered rose for $5 each, she said, "Order them now!" And I did.
Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Gardener were delighted with the prospect of having so many roses to enjoy.
I admit to working at this for the last year, but the vast majority of labor has been done by God's creatures, fashioned by the Creating Word - the Son of God - at the very beginning. "Nothing that was made was made apart from Him." John 1
Jesus is the example of always dealing with people, converting them through the spoken Word.
But He was not successful, some say, because so many hated Him and decided to kill Him. That was also effective, as many ministers have noticed in their own congregations. As soon as the Gospel takes root, as Luther observed. Satanic opposition rises up from within the congregation to silence the Word.
Some cleverly avoid this by not teaching the Word, and their Calvinist mentors at Fuller Seminary teach them how.