The Glory Has Departed

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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

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How to Send Money to the Bethany Philippine Mission

Friday, September 30, 2016

Brave New Browser - Brave.
Faster and Smoother - Avoids Ads and Tracking

Brave Download Here  - I Like It!

Shunned for supporting natural marriage, former Mozilla CEO is back with new browser

SAN FRANCISCO, September 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The former CEO of Mozilla has released a new Internet browser called Brave.
Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, continues to lead the technological revolution with Brave, an innovative concept in Internet browsers. 
After blowing away the competition (read: Microsoft's Internet Explorer) with the Internet browser Firefox, Eich has come up with Brave, a nearly ad-free, lightning-fast browser that eliminates intrusive ads as well as common but unwanted tracking tack-ons.
A tech legend for his Java and Firefox contributions, Eich was betrayed by his contemporaries and forced out of business as CEO of Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, because he supported natural marriage.
When it was revealed in 2014 that Eich donated $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8 ballot proposal, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, he was blackballed, even though Proposition 8 was supported by the majority of Californians and easily passed in 2008.
Eich was publicly shamed because he believed in natural marriage and family. He was openly called a racist, Nazi, and inhumane.
But the tenacious techie didn't give up. Without apology, Eich continued to innovate and ultimately came up with a whole new concept in web browsers: the ad-free, tracking-free, fast internet browser Brave.
In November 2015, Eich raised $2.5 million to create an advanced super-technical team.  By August 2016, the company had raised $4.5 million in seed money to launch the browser. 
Brave is called an entirely new way to browse the web without being intrusively tracked, and without time-consuming download ads.
Internet users have increasingly been using ad blockers like AdBlock Plus to cut down on the ads that slow Internet browsers down. But even with ad blocker software, users still see a lot of ads because the blockers have special arrangements with major advertisers to let their ads through.
Even the ad industry has acknowledged it has "alienated" users with so many ads slowing down computers, causing users to wait an inordinate amount of time for basic searches and information.
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which represents 650 organizations serving nearly 86 percent of all Internet advertisements, has admitted defeat to the ad-blocking software onslaught.
“We messed up,” IAB Vice President Scott Cunningham wrote. “As technologists tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience.”
Internet analyst Al Hilwa told Forbes that Brave “recognizes the key fact that browsing has become truly onerous and ever slower, even as devices have become faster.” He pointed out that the “complex web of ad downloads” is far greater and more time-consuming than the website content itself.
In contrast to the Internet status quo, Eich’s new Brave blocks everything. It doesn’t load any of the advertising software code and also blocks tracking from the start.
"On the desktop, Brave provides a 40 percent to 60 percent speed increase, and a 2x to 4x speed increase on mobile devices," Brave's Catherine Corre told LifeSiteNews.  "Therefore, mobile users also see a direct reduction in both battery and data plan consumption."
"Brave also protects users with leading privacy and security features such as encrypted data traffic, fingerprinting shields, phishing protection, malware filtering, and script blocking," Corre explained in an email.
Because of Eich’s history, Brave was opposed before it was officially launched. Major media websites took legal action to stop it, sending a cease and desist letter, claiming Brave was illegal because it blocked advertisements.
But Eich defended Brave, explaining that it does not replace the publisher's own ads.  "We do not tamper with any first-party publisher content, including native ads that do not use third-party tracking."
"Brendan picked the name 'Brave' because we need users who will take a stand and fight back," Corre told LifeSiteNews.  "We see third party ads and tracking as toxic, and we block that by default."
To compensate websites and advertisers, Brave inserts non-obtrusive, non-obnoxious ads that do not track users. Revenue from the ads helps pay websites, ad networks, and users.
Brave's address bar even has a timer displaying how quickly a webpage loads.
Who says the traditionalists can't win in today's politically correct world?

The UOJ Cathari

I was reading this small book in the car repair shop when the Ichaboat was being repaired. The alternator went bad and a bad alternator was used to replace it, so the replacement had to be replaced.

I ran across one paragraph where Chemnitz described the Cathari in his list of those who botched and twisted justification.

The Cathari considered themselves completely blameless and free of sin. Therefore, repentance was a foreign idea to them.

The UOJists insist they were saved "2000 years ago." Like the Cathari, one bad foundational idea leads to a host of rejections of Biblical truths. The UOJists are extreme hedonists, because they were born forgiven. Repentance is a foreign concept for them, too, because of this false concept.

The UOJists are habitual liars, because their deception is always for a good cause, such as getting Al Barry elected with deceit while denying it, attending Fuller Seminary while acting offended anyone would even mention that idea.

The Cathari were also known to feel superior to those not of their elite group. The three UOJ sects - LCMS, WELS, and ELS - never stop congratulating themselves about their UOJ. And oh what a blessing they are to Lutherans. Here is one example - the juxtaposition is too funny to ignore...

For 125 years, by God's grace, Northwestern Publishing House has served the spiritual needs of Lutherans and other Christians. The year 2017 will mark another special event: the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation--a movement that ushered in a return to the pure Word of God. NPH is here to help you dig deeper into that Word and strengthen your daily walk with Christ. Check out our resources below, including books and gifts commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Visit to see all we have to offer!

If you want to get along with the New Cathari of UOJ, just remember that they are completely without sin and need no repentance. They look down on everyone else - and like Paul McCain - demand apologies from everyone who has offended them. The rest are "the earthly" and give themselves away by not getting UOJ, by not admiring the corrupt and bitter fruit of anti-Christian dogma. You have been warned.

Thanks from a Reader - For Lutheran Reading Material

From One Reader:

Dear Pastor Jackson...

I want to express my thanks to God for the great blessings that He has  given to me through you, Pastor Jackson, and your Ichabod website.  I have  been introduced not only to your own writings ("Catholic, Lutheran and  Protestant" and "Thy Strong Word")  but also to  further readings of 
Luther (Romans and Galatians Commentaries, "The Bondage of the Will"),  Gerhard ("Annotations on the 1st Six Chapters of Romans", "Schola  Pietatis, Vol. 1), Robert Preus ("Justification and Rome"), and Lenski.  (Presently I am reading his Romans commentary and finding it immensely 
rewarding.)  And this has just been my reading in the last 8-9 months!   You have also introduced me to "Zion on the Mississippi" and "The Error of  Modern Missouri", both of which gave me insight into my own  Christian/Lutheran background and increased my understanding of the  apostasy found in so many of today's churches.


Lately I have been hearing from a number of people. Several younger men are in regular contact about Lutheran books to read and authors to avoid. I am getting three (3) boxes of books ready for some Lutheran book fans, which began with a fourth person buying a small library, scanning it, and giving the books to me to distribute.

That is why I began re-reading Chemnitz on Justification, translated by Jack Preus, a real treasure. More on that later. Some car issues slowed down my blogging but I read Chemnitz in the car repair shop.

My primary aim is to shock people into reading the classics of the Lutheran Reformation, starting there rather than having the pea-brains of today tell us what Lutheran doctrine is. The current Lutheran leaders have no clue and clearly hate Lutheran doctrine.

ELCA is obvious enough, but their "conservatives" did not discover the problems of their radical group until the 2009 vote. But keep them in mind, because the LCMS-WELS-ELS combine works with them all the time.

The handpicked zombies of the ELS-WELS-LCMS gathered to work on a more obvious unity, merger, and closing of schools in the future. They all agreed on repudiating Justification by Faith. They were thankful to God for agreeing on UOJ. That was no accident.

Matt the Fat could not manage to get an easy "doctorate" from a Missouri seminary, and his best pal in politics, Paul McCain, spent two extra years at Ft. Wayne without a "graduate" degree - STM or anything else. The Matt the Fat fanclub is impressed that their plump hero started a doctorate and never finished. Matt and Paul are in the sack with UOJ, so their merger group would be 100% UOJ, even though Missouri has never produced a  UOJ catechism.

Mirthless Mark Schroeder (WELS) and Pope John the Malefactor (ELS) are so gonzo for UOJ that nothing more needs to be said. I just want Lutherans in this 500th celebration year to note all the UOJ essays being excreted from Mankato, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Ft. Wayne.

Liz Eaton must be so proud of her dedicated followers.

 I have heard of "conservative" Lutheran pastors
who think this ELCA pastor is the greatest.

One can easily run around and wonder, "Where do I start with Reformation Lutheran theology?" Here are some ideas:

  1. Luther's Large Catechism is really an edited set of his sermons.
  2. Luther's Galatians Lectures, starting at chapter 3 of Galatians. Read a paragraph and think about that for a time.
  3. Melanchthon's Augsburg Apology - on Justification, a brilliant and lucid lecture.
  4. Any given Chemnitz volume.
Walther borrowed a Latin phrase - "Not many books, but much of the same." That should be the guide. One row of good Lutheran books is better than a library gathering dust. 

My books are available either as free PDFs or as Kindle e-books. Thy Strong Word will give anyone a good sample of what is going wrong among the Lutherans.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Butterfly Bushes Attract Butterflies, Bees, Birds, and Squirrels

I bought Butterfly Bushes for two reasons. One was to screen the view of the houses behind us. There I have two Bonnies, which are reputed to grow very tall.

I planted a White Profusion near our bird feeders, to attract butterflies while enjoying a view from close-up. We have seen more butterflies all the time since the Whtie Profusion grew so tall and full of blooms.

Butterfly Bushes need watering and sunshine. Supposedly the watering needs of the plant will decrease when established, but this area is notorious for ending the summer with heat, humidity, and no rain. We were fairly dry again at the end of this summer.

The White Profusion near our window was blessed with stored rainwater and the soaker hose that runs out to the fence. I also dumped the dirty birdbath water on the bush at regular intervals, getting back my investment in birdseed.

The plant transformed itself from a weak little bush this spring to a 9-foot tall woody shrub now.

The squirrels used it as a ladder to their food but found the branches easy to break at first. The birds were also flummoxed by the flimsy branches. Now every creature is happy, and the Butterfly Bush is the waiting room for the feeders:

  1. Sunflower seed platform
  2. Finch seed, squirrel-proof feeder 
  3. Hanging sunflower seed feeder
  4. Hanging baskets with six pounds of suet in them.
Part of the fun is watching the birds go from the bush to the swing to the feeders and back to the bush again. Squirrels have squatted on the platform and waved away birds, which fly in close to peck the squirrels away from their food.

Meanwhile, the bush has grown up to be a tall, wide screen that filters the sun and blocks the view of the neighbors' backyards.

Mrs. Ichabod has asked for another Butterfly Bush to screen the kitchen window. That is an ideal location, because the rest of that garden will be Hosta and a soaker hose passes by the future location of the bush.

Butterfly Bush Pruning
I should have pruned the blooms the way I trim roses, but I let them go to seed instead. Next year I will remove more of the spent flowers to keep the bushes completely in bloom and energized by the pruning. 

They are commonly cut back in the winter or early spring, but not in the fall - bad timing there (like pruning roses late in the fall). Leaving a foot or two of growth will let the Butterfly bushes fill in faster in the spring and bloom on the new wood. They have a candy-like sweet aroma in bloom.

Tilting the Creation
The backyard gets less attention, but we have been reclaiming and expanding areas for easy gardening - and I mean even easier than roses. That means laying down cardboard and weighing it down before the fall leaf curbside grab.

We use reclaimed rotten wood from morning walks and water jugs filled with aromatic, bad tasting Springdale water. The same jugs will store heat and reduce frost harm in the early spring, basking in the sun and giving up solar heat in the evening. We use Walmart water, 88 cents a gallon, for drinking, which spoiled us for tapwater.

God manages things very well, so I like to help out in small ways. Where we had nothing but grass, we now have various gardens developing, garnished with - 
  • Hosta
  • Wild Strawberries
  • Roses
  • Butterfly Bushes
  • Rugosa Rose (for shade)
  • Willow Bushes
  • Pokeweed (for birds and beneficial insects)
  • Praying Mantids (hatched the eggs, turned them loose)
  • Dutch White Clover - now most of the lawn
  • Blueberries
  • Beautyberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Asparagus
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Morning Glory Vine
  • Honeysuckle Vine

I was giving a tour to our neighbors, who have pine trees. Always praise pine trees, pet rabbits, and horses, because all three donate for the good for gardening. The mother pointed to a praying mantis that I overlooked - "You have a helper." 

I bought some egg cases in the spring, hatched them in the window, then took the swarming cases to the front and back for the pious predators to finish and establish themselves. Our granddaughters took some egg cases home, put them in an solarium, and fed the hatchlings fresh insects until they were ready for the outside.

What begins slowly develops because the Creation does 99% or more of the work. So it is with the Word of God, which is the living Seed. By sewing this living Seed of the Word, the Gospel springs up and grows, forgiveness of sin and eternal life springing up with it.

Those who never plant asparagus say, "But it takes three years to produce!" Most worthwhile plants take three years to be established. Excuses among congregations and pastors are even more vapid and self-defeating. 
  1. They need money. 
  2. They need plans. 
  3. They need an organization.
  4. They need time.

Yet they remodel the church kitchen for thousands, as if they were running a large restaurant or hotel, and use their time to decide which table decorations to use.

Three Promises -
1. The Word never returns empty.
2. The Word always accomplishes God's purpose.
3. The Word always prospers God's plans.

LCMS Pastor Gets Prison Sentence

Former LCMS pastor gets prison for child enticement

OSHKOSH - A former pastor says he regrets what prosecutors called "sexually aggressive" online chats with who he thought was a 13-year-old girl he planned to meet for sex while in town for a pastor's conference.
Joshua C. Scheil, 29, formerly of Trevor, was sentenced Thursday in Winnebago County Circuit Court to two years in prison, three years of extended supervision and 15 years of probation for child enticement and causing a child 13 or younger to view sexual activity.
"I screwed up, your honor; there's no denying that," Scheil said during Thursday's sentencing hearing. "I've lost most everything important to me. I've lost my wife. I've lost a career that was important to me. I've lost all of my friends. ... Those 11 days (in jail) were absolute hell for me."

LCMS and WELS Lutheran Colleges Fail To Make the List

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a list of the top 500 colleges in the USA. No LCMS school made the list. My wife went through the list as well, and she didn't see any. 

However, some ELCA-affiliated ones did make it: Concordia Moorhead, Luther in Decorah, Wartburg, Wittenberg, Augsburg, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Olaf, & Augustana. She did say she could have missed some. While there are always problems with lists of this kind, if the standards are applied uniformly it does say something about ranking.

 What do you want to bet the Stuckfast Lutherans and the Questing Lutherans won't say anything?

Martin Luther College changed Samantha Lily,
who arrived as a male student and graduated pumped full of hormones.
But nobody knew. Nope - no one.

Short version - 50% of members in Wisconsin,
where they are densest.
25% in Minnesota, 25% in Michigan.
The rest are scattered.

S.O.S. - Same Old Style from WELS - 2010 Resignation from MIchigan Lutheran Sem Prep School

GJ - Please do not try to fool an information maven. The official story is not true. WELS is so used to lying that the officials think they can fool an entire synod. WELS Pastor Aaron Frey was asked in doctrine class at MLS about how far one could go sexually. He said, "As far as your conscience allows." That was several weeks ago. An uproar followed, which climaxed in his resignation.

Since the DP was leading the chapel service when the announcement was made, some might conclude (as I did) that some high-level meeting took place that morning. Mrs. I did not believe the story. I asked various sources about what happened, and their utter silence told me it was something.

WELS leaders have used the burn-out excuse too often to be believed. That is how they finessed the Michigan District VP from a congregation to director of a WELS nursing home, with the previous DP lying to beat the band. When that district VP was exposed as an adulterer, one of his members--a student at MLS--decided not to be a pastor.

LPR in Columbus was a collection of lies and slander.

"For the good of the ministry" means something bad happened, and now we know. Perhaps WELS pastors and leaders should stop deceiving people, for the good of the ministry. Do they expect people to believe them the next time?

Recently, Wisconsin mandated a sex education curriculum that required teachers to teach about condoms and other forms of birth control. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? It would have been, but last week, a D.A. named Scott Southworth announced that teachers who followed this law, could end up in jail for breaking another: namely, contributing to the delinquency of minors.

The classes also must inform students that teenagers who have sex can wind up on the state's sex offender registry because sex with children 16 or younger is a crime.


President Frey Resigns

Below is a letter by Vice President William Zeiger regarding this morning's announcement by President Aaron Frey to resign. Please keep Pres. Frey, his family, MLS and our Synod in your prayers.

Dear Friends of Michigan Lutheran Seminary,

Yesterday, Pres. Aaron Frey informed our MLS Governing Board Chairman, Pastor George Ferch, and me that he was resigning his call as president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary for the good of the ministry.

This news was announced to our student body and faculty following our chapel service this morning by Pastor John Seifert, the president of our Michigan District. Pastor Seifert is an advisory member of our governing board.

While this resignation is unexpected, we are already making the necessary adjustments to our school’s program. Pastor Ferch will be calling each of the governing board members today to inform them of the news. The board meets in New Ulm, Minnesota, next week Friday. At that meeting the board will appoint an acting president and begin the calling process to fill the vacancy in the president’s office.

Pres. Frey’s teaching assignment of Doctrine 12 will be taken over by Instructor Andrew Naumann, who taught the course last year following Pres. Prange’s departure. We will have to make some other small adjustments to the academic schedule to accommodate this change, but they will be insignificant.

Vacancies in ministry can be unsettling. At the same time MLS has had experience in its recent history of continuing its important ministry very well in times of vacancy in the administration, faculty, and staff of our school. The Lord has blessed MLS with capable men and women who will pick up the work that needs to be done and to do it well. They have done it in the past, and they will meet this new challenge with the same ability and service now. They will do it as they serve our students, our special ministry at MLS, and their Lord and Savior.

I encourage you to keep the needs of MLS in your prayers, as well as Pastor Frey and his family as they face changes in their life.

In our Savior’s service,
William Zeiger, Ph.D.
Vice President
Last Modified: Friday, September 17th at 10:19a.m.


  • Reverends Lange, Huber, Hoyer, Linsemann, and Beer 1887–1907
  • Reverend Otto J.R. Hoenecke 1910-1950 (Taught until 1958)
  • Reverend Conrad I. Frey 1950–1966
  • Reverend Martin Toepel 1966–1978
  • Reverend John C. Lawrenz 1978–1994
  • Reverend Paul T. Prange 1994–2009
  • Reverend Aaron Frey 2010–present

GJ - I have an official source saying that Aaron Frey could not take the strain of trying to keep the school going during such dire financial straits. I am sorry to hear that. Such stories were common about stress and overwork in the past, and they include F. Pieper and Walther as well. People used to go to Europe to rest and recover. We have different names for it but similar symptoms today. <--Note that the "burn-out" alibi only worked for a few hours.

People should keep Pastor Frey and his family in their prayers. Doubtless he wanted to turn the school around and honor the family name. <--Teaching the fornication philosophy of SIECUS is not God-pleasing, so why pay $8,200 per year to hear to hear it from a Lutheran pastor?

WELS has tried to be a big denomination for too long. A few people have convinced big donors that showcase projects like LPR (Zehms, Stolzenburg) in Columbus or The CORE (Glende, Ski) in Appleton would change everything. They have only proven how soon a fool and his money are parted. The Schwan Foundation has been as effective as the Obama stimulus package, good for a few people, bad for the rest.

Schools devour money. Ask anyone who has one of last remaining church schools. Benefits cost a fortune. Buildings have to be fed and watered like farm animals. "We are going to hold a candy sale to cover the cost of refinishing the gym floor." It never ends.

  • How many schools would like to have the $15 million devoured by Thoughts of Faith?

  • The $500,000 recently devoured by The SORE? (My estimate. They started off spending $250,000, just to get started. Meanwhile, I broadcast all over the world with a $100 camera and a computer I could have found dumpster diving.)

  • The entire sum spend on the latest world mission venture, where a few people are send to a new mission area, using up a lot of money to dabble in mission work there?

  • There is the old story of the monkey and the peas. He wanted to hold onto more and more, so he dropped all of them at once.

    In this day of instant communication, the old system of ecclesiastical lying is falling apart. WELS used to be able to encapsulate a scandal, such as the time a female staffer at MLS was servicing the male students, or when another staffer was robbing them blind and livin' high on the hog.

    When will they learn? Lying encourages the unrepentant, who know the bigger the scandal, the greater the smokescreen. Lying also discourages faithful Christians who think a privately owned, clergy-run school is a safe alternative to the public education system.


    Glende's Fake-O-Bod defends the lies:


    Dr. Gregory Jackson's Report about MLS Pres. Frey
    Friday it was announced that Pres. Aaron Frey of Michigan Lutheran Seminary, the WELS high school in Saginaw, Michigan, resigned "for the good of the ministry." MLS provided an official letter on its website from Dr. William Zeiger.

    Dr. Jackson couldn't wait to report the news on his gossip blog, Ichabod, the Glory Has Departed. Unfortunately, he had to add his own personal comments based on some secret source of his in Michigan. This is what Dr. Jackson wrote, "I have an official source saying that Aaron Frey could not take the strain of trying to keep the school going during such dire financial straits." Dr. Jackson criticizes others for not quoting their sources, but he does the same thing!

    Today, Saturday, September 18, Greg Jackson wrote on his blog, "Please do not try to fool an information maven. The official story is not true. WELS is so used to lying that the officials think they can fool an entire synod." He then proceeded to report the so-called "real" reason for Pres. Frey's resignation.

    There was no "official" reason publicly given for Pres. Frey's resignation. Jackson simply stated that a source of his reported Frey resigned because of burnout. The next thing Jackson does is accuse the WELS of lying. No official report or news release was made by the WELS, MLS or anyone else. Dr. Jackson, from what we can tell, made up what his original source said, and then he turned around and accused the WELS of lying.

    It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that the WELS is not the entity that lied here. Dr. Jackson is telling lies, and then he blames someone else for his personal untruthfulness. But that's nothing new for Dr. Jackson, is it?


    GJ - Ski and Glende are the fruit of MLS, so I knew the Appleton fake blog would jump on this. They are daily readers of Ichabod, when they are not copying Groeschel into their sermon files or blocking Google access to my ruminations about Fox Valley apostasy.

    I should name my sources so a fake, anonymous blog from plagiarists can lead the way in sliming a new set of victims? Church and Money Changers are so transparent.

    Cease and desist, Tim and Ski. The school, faculty, and parents know the truth, if they spend a few seconds asking some questions. This has been brewing for several weeks.

    I am confident in my story, my sources, and the truth - as distinguished from the smokescreen being laid down.

    Ta-ta. I actually write my sermons. Right now I am studying Luther so I have no time for the aging, balding, blubbery juveniles of The SORE.


    The Official WELS Denial:

    Rev. Aaron Frey announced Sept. 17 that, effective immediately, he is resigning as president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS) in Saginaw, one of two preparatory high schools operated by the synod.

    In a letter from Frey read to students and faculty by Rev. John Seifert, president of the Michigan District, Frey states: "It is with deep sadness that I must tender to you my resignation as the president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary for the good of the ministry at our beloved synodical preparatory school." Seifert, who counseled with Frey, says, "He has not disqualified himself from serving in the public ministry, and he did not have to resign."

    Frey had been serving as president of MLS since February after serving since July 2006 as pastor at Emanuel in Tawas City, Mich.

    The governing board of MLS meets in New Ulm, Minn., Sept. 24. At that meeting the board will appoint an acting president and begin the calling process to fill the vacancy in the president's office.

    William Zeiger, vice president of MLS, in a separate letter to students and faculty writes: "Vacancies in ministry can be unsettling. At the same time MLS has had experience in its recent history of continuing its important ministry very well in times of vacancy in the administration, faculty, and staff of our school. The Lord has blessed MLS with capable men and women who will pick up the work that needs to be done and to do it well."

    Both Zeiger and Seifert are asking the synod to keep Frey and his family in their prayers.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    A Brief History and Summary of UOJ - From 2012

    Art by Norma Boeckler.

    Visitors come to this blog and wonder what Universal Objective Justification is, so I will summarize the discussion briefly. 

    Justification means being declared forgiven of all sins by God. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to create faith, and that faith receives all the blessings of the Gospel. This Gospel is the invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of the Sacraments. That is why the Word and Sacraments are called Means of Grace, since they are God's instruments of grace to bring forgiveness to people.

    The Bible, Luther, the Book of Concord, and Lutheran theologians all teach justification by faith. The Lutheran theologians include Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Chytraeus, Andreae, Gerhard, Calov, Quenstedt, and many others.

    Pastor Paul Rydecki translated Hunnius, who eviscerated Samuel Huber.

    Samuel Huber, UOJ Stylist
    UOJ first appeared shortly after the Book of Concord was published in 1580. Samuel Huber, a partial convert from Calvinism, got a teaching gig at Wittenberg and began railing against justification by faith. Alas, he was like a gunman robbing a gun store. The Lutheran orthodox opened up on him. Polycarp Leyser, the biographer of Chemnitz, an expert on justification, and Hunnius, another genius, shredded the weak arguments of Huber and removed him from his post.

    Huber taught that everyone was already righteous, by virtue of Christ's resurrection.

    Pietism and Halle University, the Mother Ship of Blended Doctrine
    Pietism won the battle against Lutheran orthodoxy, and Halle University served as the main (but not the only) source of Pietistic ministers and missionaries.

    UOJ emerged again with the peculiar argument of the Halle Pietist Rambach and others that the entire world was absolved of sin the moment Christ rose from the dead. Although Romans 4:25 is commonly used today for this bizarre notion, Rambach argued his case from 1 Timothy 3:16.

    Rambach's world absolution is still argued by Jay Webber (ELS) and Jon-Boy Buchholz, the tantrum prone WELS District President.

    Stephan-Walther UOJ Sex Cult Expelled from Europe
    Bishop Martin Stephan, who infected his wife and children with syphilis, gathered the Walther circle of Pietists around him, demanding total obedience in all his edicts. Pietism was the alternative to state-sponsored rationalism, so the Walther group gravitated from one abusive Pietistic leader (Johann Gottlieb Kuehn) to another (Stephan) when Kuehn died. 

    When Stephan's troubles from adultery and misuse of money grew, he planned a mass exodus to America, the first such emigration from Europe. He was under house arrest until his departure, when he took his main mistress along (Louise Guenther) and left his wife and children in Dresden to manage without him. Stephan only took his healthy son along, even though the society made arrangements for the entire Stephan family to move.

    Walther and his brother kidnapped their niece and nephew from their father's parsonage, so Walther escaped arrest warrants (unlike his future mother-in-law) and left Europe in a hurry.

    Walther learned his UOJ from Stephan, and Stephan studied at Halle University. 

    Walther's UOJ
    Walther's UOJ never varied from what he gained from Stephan, a fact that should make his diminishing fan club shudder.

    Walther taught that God declared the entire world absolved of sin. People just needed to be told they were already forgiven and then believe in this world absolution. He later approved the double-justification language from the English translation of Knapp, the Halle Pietist.

    Walther was unable to gain total dominance of the Halle position in the Synodical Conference.

    Gausewitz was president of the Synodical Conference, and his catechism did not teach UOJ. 

    Hoenecke graduated from Halle, but he definitely gave UOJ a light touch in his Dogmatics.

    Concordia Publishing House still publishes a KJV catechism (2 million in print!) that omits UOJ entirely.

    UOJ, Church Growth, and Gay Activism
    The UOJ advocates (WELS COP, Valleskey, Bivens, Wayne Mueller, VP Huebner, SP Mark Schroeder) are also the Church Growth salesmen in their synods (denying it, of course).

    Gay activism thrives in the Fuller Seminary alumni, whether they are nominal Lutherans like Mark Schroeder, or emergent church gurus like Andy Stanley  or Brian Mclaren.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2016

    Roses Love Cooler Weather - And Everyone Loves Roses

    John Paul II white roses are picture perfect when cut,
    but they fade faster than most.

    Many people are surprised to learn that roses love cooler weather. In fact, the great rose farms ship their dormant roses very early in the spring, so the plants arrive before most are active in their gardens.

    The old rose books used to suggest pruning roses before the cold set in, to prevent canes whipping around in the wind or freezing at the ends. One gardener of 200 bushes said he did that. I tried to hide my shock, because that made the roses more vulnerable by encouraging growth when the roses needed to take a winter nap. Besides, that is a lot of work with zero benefits.

    Our hot spell was difficult for the roses and the water bill, because roses bloom and fade so quickly in the heat. In early spring, the buds form slowly and bloom slowly, so the display of color is long and inspiring. During the Inferno season, they need more rainwater, which is sparse, and relief from the long, hot nights.

    Now the autumn cool has visited with some extra rain, and the roses are showing the benefits of rain added to thorough watering. I begin by soaking the main rose garden with under-mulch soaker hoses. I no longer remember exactly where the hoses run. I have a sprinkler that I use for the corners and finish by using that sprinkler  alone on the main sections, raining down on the bushes and giving the canes a good shower.

    Roses vary in their growth habits, so Veterans Honor has an enormous bloom more slender canes.
    In contrast, Easy Does It and Mr. Lincoln always boast long, strong canes and astonishing growth.

    A good rain or a deep watering will produce surprising blooms the next day, which is fun.

     Veterans Honor red roses are fragrant, long-lasting
    and large on slender stems.
    The orange Easy Does It roses are fast growing,
    prolific in bloom, with strong stems.

    Monday, September 26, 2016

    Vines Vining Away - Plus Fresh Rain on the Pines

    Our backyard - heavily Photoshopped.

    Vines are so much fun - and trouble. The ones we want do not grow overnight. The ones we hate will lie in wait and make their way across the places they are not wanted.

    The Ivy League is called that because a Harvard bigshot liked Japanese ivy and began growing it on the old buildings, so it is called Boston ivy. Yale copied it. No one thought the vines could be tree-like and destructive of buildings. The other schools united with the ivy fad and called their football league of eggheads the Ivy League.

    I have English ivy - not the kind grown at Harvard in Boston - growing on the front of the house. We like it and let the vine grow over the picture window. Those are our organic drapes, always changing a bit, and perfect for male birds to land on and see the reflection of imagined rivals in the spring.

    The best and worst about vines is their seeking for sunlight. The English ivy tried to grow into the house through the window and under the door. The ivy spread across the patio and entered the rose garden. We found it easy to cut away from unwanted areas, but that is only an armistice, not a peace treaty.

    I planted three Trumpet vines, one by the maple tree in the front, one on the fence where it would get sunlight and water, one in the shade behind a tree. The most neglected is still growing up a tree and finding sunlight. The most coddled is growing ferociously now and has bloomed. The one in the maple tree rose garden is doing well on the ground and up the tree.

    Morning Glory vines reach out for support, just like pumpkins. I enjoy the architecture of those plants, willing to grab a fence spring, a rose branch, anything for support.

     Hostas thrive in shade,
    and Hummingbirds love Hosta flowers.

    Pine Needles
    The pine needles already look good on the Hosta garden, which only lacks another dose of needles and more Hostas.

    We got the first application from the neighbors on Saturday, and they promised more would fall. I offered to harvest them too.

    The rain got all the fresh cardboard soggy and heavy, and rain will bring down more needles and leaves.

    The mulch not only preserves moisture and soil, but keeps the soil warmer for the soil creatures that decompose and re-arrange all the useful chemicals. The soil creatures keep up some activity as it gets cooler, but more is done when the critters are kept warm.

    They proposed bubble plastic for swimming pools in the winter, in Phoenix. The sun would beat down and warm up the water, they claimed. I tried that once and got an algae bloom that was second to none, but not the desired warmth in the pool.

    Coverings on the soil can promote all kinds of growth, including fungi and algae, but in natural conditions the food is eaten by the vegetarian creatures. The vegans are eaten by the predators, and the predators by other predators - even their own kind.

    In this circle of life designed by the Creator and managed expertly by Him, nothing gets out of hand unless man steps in with some wild ideas.

    • Landscaper's cloth - that will block weeds for a time, then the weeds break through to make an unholy mess.
    • Black plastic partially covered by rocks or wood mulch. Plastic does not last and those coverings do not work very well at all. Soil should not be suffocated with plastic.
    • Herbicides kill a lot more than weeds, and many weeds can be covered and converted to compost. Some weeds are easily pulled  - like crabgrass. Other weeds are herbs that should be left alone - like dandelion.
    • Pesticides kill spiders, beneficial insects, and lots of other life. If I kill a million skeeters with poison, a billion more will replace them.
    • Fungicides are good for killing fungus, which is what we really want in our gardens. I like slime molds that show up to devour other molds. They look like dog vomit and go away fast. Some pranksters used to buy plastic stuff like that - it's free.
    • Excess digging, rototilling, double digging, plowing. If God wanted all those delicate fungus strands broken up, all the earthworms killed, and all the balance destroyed, He would have done it by now.

    Lack of Curiosity - Lack of Energy - Lack of Will

     Our drugged and alcohol-pacified society is content to copy and paste
    creativity while assailing anyone who disturbs their three-day naps.

    The video above deals with the lost civilizations of the world whose accomplishments are still carved in stone. My mother was fascinated with the Mexican and South American cultures. People still scratch their heads and wonder how this massive engineering feats were imagined, designed, and created.

    That is also true for the pyramids of Egypt, which exist in various formations and sizes throughout the world.

    I used to laugh at the ultimate answer to all these questions - "Aliens from outer space did this." That is how I answer similar questions on Facebook.

    There are no alien records to dispute, no aliens to interview, no ships to board for inspection. That is the perfect answer for all questions.

    My rudest shock in teaching undergraduates again, whether they were smart or not, from public schools or homeschooling, was this - their utter lack of curiosity.

    Almost every question in the world can be answered (often badly) by putting the issue in Google for a search. I had some electrical problems with the Ichaboat, which were not solved by replacing the alternator. I was able to search the Net for a discussion page about my 94 Lincoln Town Car, Executive Series. That gave me a lot of clues, but the AAA repairman had the final answer - a $4500 testing device - revealing a bad, new replacement alternator.

    The Net gave me a chance to think through the answers and consider what each one meant for repair or future troubles.

    Why was the Chaste Tree doing so badly on the rainwater I gave it? Answer - never water the Chaste Tree and give it plenty of sun. I was wrong on two counts and moved it. The plant responds to pruning so I pruned all of it and new life came out of that drooping shrub.

    What was the weird growth on two roses? I checked articles and photos - the dreaded rosette disease. Cure? Dig it up with the roots and remove all traces. That ended the problem and made me far more aware of the issue. I also found false statements about causes, which can be compared against well established research.

    History of Civilizations
    Few people know the history of Rome. We studied that history as a normal part of Latin 1 and 2. We had to know how and when it began, who Julius Caesar was, and read his self-promoting diaries. No one takes Latin now - a statistically insignificant number can claim that distinction.

     Martin Luther College, WELS

    The Roman Republic - which required marriage for citizens - turned into the Roman Empire, where the first 15 emperors were either bi or homosexual. That includes Julius, who was called "the wife of every man and the husband of every woman," as well as the "Queen of Bithynia."

    Rome absorbed every engineering achievement from the cultures it conquered and implemented them, building upon the foundation of Greek and Egyptian math and engineering. "The Romans had the drains, but the Greeks had the brains."

    Once Rome settled into the excesses of wealth and power, the culture began to decline. I grew up hearing, "We are just like Rome, going the same direction," and that was during Good Old Days, when men had spines instead of management techniques.

    Biblical studies are a good example. We have centuries of scholarship, good and bad, but plenty to use. We have the texts available on the computer. And yet a business can add and subtract from the Bible - as the New NIV has done - and the simpletons of WELS say, "Love it. Buy it. Use it." The others are no better.

    I read that giant celebrity churches like Willow Creek demanded and feminist Bible and got it in the New NIV, which will change more often than cloud formations in the years to come.

    Thousands of Lutherans will graduate from colleges and seminaries and never ask the important questions, because they have no curiosity. They only want to subjugate their minds so they can graduate and progress in the synod.

    As my professor at Notre Dame (now at Harvard) said, "Those who never leave school fail to develop independent thinking." She was supporting me in disagreeing with her in class, while other students thought that meant expulsion from the program.

    America may turn things around again, but not without repentance. Too many want the rivers of drugs and vice that cross the borders. Too many want easy jobs with total security, as long as they behave and cause no waves.

    I am sure that those Lutherans who watch the Moody video to the end with cringe at the Decision Theology at the end. But why? All your leaders look to the Decision Theology Evangelicals to teach them evangelism. They go to those schools and let themselves and Luther be pistol-whipped by the professors of Fuller, Willow Creek, and Trinity Divinity.  And those subjugated leaders, who are no better or wiser than sheep, get out their whips and cattle prods to order the pastors and congregations to follow their example.

    Sunday, September 25, 2016

    The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9.
    Gospel Fruits and Weeds

    The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016

    Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

    The Hymn # 239                 Come Thou Almighty King                         
    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 #269            O Lord Our Father                      

    Gospel Fruits and Weeds

    The Communion Hymn # 396            Oh for a Faith            
    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 #651               Be Still My Soul            


    KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

    KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

    Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

    Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

    Gospel Fruits and Weeds
    KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 

    Paul's difficulties in Corinth remain a blessing to us this day. Those who like to pick away at the Bible criticize the Apostle for his personal letters. This was a man with normal emotions and responses to difficulties, they complain. His letters are too personal, so they show him as a mortal, fallible man. 

    But if we look purely human accounts, there is quite a difference. I am fond of those bits of trivia from the past, where so much is revealed and concealed. People will invariably write their church histories as glorious heroes planting the flag of grace on some lonely, barren spiritual desert - like my hometown Moline. Synods write such predictable histories as Fifty Years of Grace. Individual histories have plenty of details in them, but also have many blank areas. The nephew of CFW Walther skipped most of the early history of the group, which he must have known, sitting at the table of his uncle, and one official site pretended nothing happened until the LCMS started - when CFW became president.

    Man's histories forget the faithful leaders and sanitize the rascals.

    In contrast, Paul's letters give us a human picture which is also divinely inspired, because the Spirit led him to address the positive and the negatives about Corinth in order to lead them correctly with the Gospel. 

    The first three verses are the formal start of an epistle. 

    Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
    Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:
    Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Thus the opening emphasizes the apostolic call of Paul, sent from Jesus Christ through the will of God. Sosthenes is likely the head of the synagogue in Corinth who was beaten (Acts 18:17) for being a Christian.

    No one is named a saint except those who believe Christ, who call upon His Name. Paul's union with them is that Jesus is their Lord and his Lord. The greeting starts with grace, which is God's mercy and love through the Gospel, peace which is the result of forgiveness in Him - both coming from the Father and Son, witnessed by the Holy Spirit.

    4. In this wise he extols to them the preaching of the Gospel (as indeed he does on different occasions); his purpose is to induce them to regard it most appreciatively. He gives them an example of his own gratitude, thanking God on their behalf, for the purpose of calling forth their especial gratitude when they should consider what they formerly were and what they now had received through the Gospel. And again, he would have them beware lest, forgetful of their former misery and present grace, they relapse into their old blindness. A sad beginning in such backsliding had been made by factions in their midst, who, satiated with the Gospel and indifferent to the abundant grace they enjoyed, began to cast about for something else.

    5. Now observe: If the exalted apostle and venerable teacher of the Gentiles in his day had to witness in his own parish such factions and sects as those which, in sinful security and ingratitude toward the Gospel, arose during his life, what wonder is it that today, when we do not have the excellent preachers and pious Christians of those times, there are similar sects? We are aware of the great benefits bestowed upon us, but at the same time we see and realize that the devil instigates divisions and scandals. And the cause of these evils may be traced to our ingratitude; we have quickly forgotten the ills we endured under the blindness of popery, and how miserably we were deluded and tormented. Necessarily, where God’s mercies are lightly dismissed from the mind and disregarded, gratitude and regard for God’s Word cannot be the result; satiated, listless Christians go their way fancying that spiritual conditions always were and always will be as now.

    I thank my God always on your behalf

    Paul was always thankful to God for the results of the Gospel. He was tireless among the Jews and the non-Jews, which provoked conflict among the Twelve. Were they not Jewish teachers, followers of the Jewish Messiah, with so many Jews to convert to the Gospel? As an outsider to the original Twelve, Paul had to defend his work among non-Jews while continuing his work among the Jews.

    Our basic instruction tends to emphasize the non-Jews (the Gentiles) and bypass the large-scale conversions among Jews that caused so much conflict, hatred, persecution, and Paul's ultimate arrest.

    The Gospel converted people by showing them that Jesus paid the price for their sins, that believing in Him was forgiveness and the basis for a life in Christ, a road toward eternal life. The Gospel conversions were a miracle that changed people's lives, often dramatically because the good, decent people were satisfied while the lowest characters lacked the luxury of excusing their behavior. 

    for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 
    Paul's conversion made him especially aware of the power of Christ. He was the greatest enemy of Christ, but Paul became the greatest ambassador for Him. Everywhere he preached about Jesus, people believed and opposition arose. Paul damaged the business of pagan idol shops and enraged the Jewish leaders. He tended to unite the opposition against him that way, but also saw the fruits of his work, which is really God's work in the Word.

    Nothing is more discouraging than reading the babble of Lutheran leaders today as they market the Reformation while denouncing the Gospel of Paul, the preaching of Luther. However, at the same time, the publication and promotion of Luther and Lutheran books has this remarkable effect - gathering people who love the Gospel and want to learn more.

    This increase in reading Luther comes from the experience of many who have been afflicted by false doctrine, damaging leaders, and the chaos created by current conditions. As I often mention, liturgical Lutheran services were once taken for granted, and the KJV reigned supreme, but now entire regions are populated with clowns who want to star in their own circus of snacks and soft-drinks. But wait - there's more. They want to study the Bible at a bar, because that sounds so cool.

    In the midst of that nonsense, younger men say, "I want to know what to read and what to avoid in Lutheran, Biblical teaching." That is the miracle of the Gospel and the grace of God. That thirst for Biblical knowledge skipped over my generation almost entirely - the Boomers who took everything for granted and watched it slip away, fearful lest a synodical committee assignment be lost or a mission trip to the beaches of France be canceled. 

    5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 

    I am researching the use of treasure in the Book of Concord, and found it exclusively in Luther's Large Catechism. That finding is no surprise, because Luther was the son of a miner, well acquainted with the digging of new areas for treasure, whether minerals, gold, or silver.

    Therefore, the Gospel itself is a treasure in Luther's sermons. Paul used a similar expression - you are enriched by Him in all utterance and knowledge. And in 2 Corinthians - that Christ became poor to enrich others  with the Gospel.

    2 Corinthias 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

    Like everything else we have in abundance, we take these spiritual treasures for granted. That is why I experience people either rooted in the current fads and illusions or else eager to study what is being thrown away.

    I can order a used Lutheran book at random and find one in perfect condition owned by a famous seminary professor. Or by a member of the Stellhorn family, a clan instrumental in the LCMS and the ALC. The prices are almost always very low because the demand is low. But when my friends look for this discarded treasure they find it sold short at Salvation Army and other bookstores.

    The enrichment of the Gospel is not only what God gives us through grace but also how He spares us by keeping us away from the bogs and swamps that trap so many. Simply read the Internet for news and the words, actions, and thoughts of people will stun the believer with crassness, gross language, and a careless attitude toward everything.

    Gerhardt's hymn expresses this perfectly.

    Someone wrote, "It may be too hard to translate into English." And yet 9 and 90 Red Balloons was translated from German and became a hit in English. It all depends on what we value. Enormous, expensive efforts are made to support and promote secular quasi-religious music while Lutherans stop once a century to nod toward Gerhardt. One ELS professor could not distinguish between Gerhardt the hymn-writer and Gerhard the theologian. If the professors are so ignorant of their own history, what will the students know and teach in the future?

    6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 

    Paul called upon the experience of his readers to remind them of the powerful effect of the Word of God. They knew individually where they came from, because most of the Christians in the Apostolic Age came from the slaves and the most despised, which Paul recalled for them later.

    1 Corinthians 6 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
    The power of Gospel conversion was shown in their lives, how the Word changed them from hedonists and criminals into forgiven, sanctified believers.
    7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
    8. For in your own judgment, what better thing could you have than is the Christian’s in his Gospel and his faith? He has assurance of sins forgiven and washed away in holy baptism, of justification and holiness before God, and of the fact that he is God’s child and heir to eternal life. Furthermore, although the Christian is conscious of remaining weakness and sin, yea, although he be overcome by a fault, he may avail himself of absolution, comfort and strength through his fellow Christians and by the aid of the sacraments; and he has daily guidance for his conduct and faith in all the walks of life. Again, he can call upon God in prayer in the day of trouble, and the firm assurance is his that God will hear and help him. What further can one desire, or what more does he need, than the knowledge that he is God’s child through baptism and has God’s Word at hand for comfort and strength in weakness and sin? Do you consider it slight enrichment to have assurance of the fact that God himself is speaking to you and, by means of the office of the ministry, is effective in you, teaching, admonishing, comforting, sustaining you, yea, granting you victory over the devil, death and all evil influences on earth?
    7 So that ye come behind in no gift;
    God gives His people the gifts needed to continue in the spread of His Gospel. The gifts are freely given and distributed according to His wisdom. When we needed a place to worship in New Ulm, a tiny group of us were able to purchase four lots with a house, obtain a bank mortgage and a 0% down-payment loan, a large electric organ, hymnals, chairs, a small new chapel, and such.
    When we grew as a small group of Lutherans, the Net and a small video camera started us on free Internet worship services. Various technological advances have made communication and publishing relatively easy.
    One reader advised me, "Keep up the gardening articles and Norma Boeckler's art." Many are encouraging and they are names not known to the rest.
    These gifts should never be be taken for granted, because they make so many things possible. I took computer science to improve what I could do in publishing. If I had stayed at my level of knowledge, I would be like my highschool classmates, wondering if the Internet is open on Sundays. But by learning a few things I found out I could send entire books the world as PDFs on DropBox. God guides in applying man's technology to His work.
    waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
    The end is coming, whether it be this year, century, or millennium. No matter what terrifies us now or causes anxiety, that certainty reminds us Who holds history in His hands. 
     Pier Francesco Sacchi_-_Dottori_della_Chiesa_-_ca._1516
     Doctors of the Church

    Blameless reminds me of a statement by St. Augustine. He hoped when his mother died that she would not be tempted to say she was worthy because of her good works, but that she would rely solely on her faith in the merits of Christ. He might have preached her into heaven, because her prayers were realized when he was converted by the Word of God. Her prayers were answered in abundance when he became one of the greatest theologians of the Church, second only to Martin Luther, who was an Augustinian monk himself. Among the other famous "Doctors of the Roman Church," Augustine taught grace and justification by faith best of all, with Ambrose a second.
    Augustine published far too much, so there is an entire volume of retractions. However, he said this, which few Lutherans would say today - "If anything I wrote is against the Scriptures, disregard it entirely." Far too many today think their inventions are the Word of God. Some think they represent Christ in the flesh, as the Roman Catholics characterize the pope.
    Blameless means receiving forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ. That is the message and purpose of the Bible. Without that we have no more wisdom than the pagans have and must rely on a system of works.
     9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
    We may falter and fail, but the Word never does. The garden is a perfect example for us to remember. Whenever we start to create some natural beauty or production in plants, we look for good soil. If we want the best, we improve the soil with watering, earthworms, mulch, and natural fertilizers. When this happens, even if we shade the soil with layers of paper, cardboard, and mulch, the weeds burst through and make a big show for themselves.
    Weed seeds last 40 years in the soil, so they wait patiently. My neighbor built two berms from topsoil and these mounds were covered in tall weeds in weeks - a fascinating display.
    So where the Gospel grows, so do the weeds. And the fake Gospel is like a weed, looking very much like the good plant it is trying to displace. There really are two Gospels, as Luther said, and they grow together. One is the true Gospel and the other is the false Gospel, designed to fool people.
    Other obnoxious weeds simply try to choke the Gospel to death or hog all the sunlight and water. The Asian religions are good example. They even try to masquerade as harmonious with the Gospel - Zen, etc.
    Some mistakenly believe that opposition is a bad sign, but unbelief with always oppose faith - bitterly, with great vindictiveness. That is the cross every Christian must bear. Luther said "The believer does not need to wonder what his cross is - it is already on his back."

    In Our Prayers -
    Roman's mother - Florida  (Flora).
    Pete and Helene Ellenberger.
    Those suffering from the riots and terrorism.