Mark Hatloy – Drayton ND, Roger Weinlaeder – Drayton ND Bob Wurl -Hankinson ND, Pastor Mably – Minn North — Elk river Minn, Donna Blake – DogPatch Arkansas, Pastor Reimche – Bottineau, ND will be traveling to Kenya to visit the Lenkishon site, the joint Minnesota North and North Dakota District project. They will be there to see the grand opening of the site, see a catechism club competition and to sit on a forum of partners that exist because of Project 24. That will be a visit of stakeholders, managers, missionaries and supporters. The group will leave on the 20th of February and will return March 5th.
In the meantime all of our friends out there who supported before we are asking for your support again. Please give to Project 24 online at https://www.lcms.org/givenow/project-24-construction
They will leave on the 20th of Feb and return about the 5th of March so we pray for safe travels and a blessed trip and visit with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Here is their itinerary so you can pray everyday they are there.
Tuesday, Feb. 21st – arrive in Nairobi, stay the night in Nairobi
Wednesday, Feb. 22nd – visit the ELCK head office in the morning visit the LCMS East Africa Field Office (take lunch at
the office) travel to Lenkishon in the afternoon.
Thursday Feb. 23rd – State of Project 24 Forum hosted at Lenkishon
Friday, Feb. 24th – Dedication and Special ceremony – Lenkishon
Saturday, Feb. 25th – travel from Lenkishon to Kapenguria.
Sunday, Feb. 26th – worship at Udom, visit Udom P24 site.
Monday, Feb. 27th – visit school for Udom children, travel to Kisumu.
Tuesday, Feb. 28th – visit Tumaini P24 site as well as the school where the girls attend.
Wednesday, March 1st – travel to and visit Othoro P24 site as well as the school where the boys attend, then continue to Kisii.
Thursday, March 2nd – visit Rongo P24 site as well as the school the children attend.
Friday, March 3rd – travel from Kisii to Maasai Mara.
Saturday, March 4th – all day in Maasai Mara.
Sunday, March 5th – return to Nairobi, leave to go back to the states that evening
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A year before he actually died Martin Luther received a handwritten copy of a letter from an Ambassador to a King “Regarding a Horrible Sign Which Occurred in the Shameful Death of Martin Luther”. It was full of frightening images and scenes that would make the horror writers in Hollywood jealous. The idea was to convince folks into coming back to the Roman church because Luther had obviously gone to hell. The problem was he was not dead.
Luther wrote with his usual aplomb –
“And I, Martinus Luther, D., do by these indentures acknowledge and testify that I have received this angry fiction concerning my death on the twenty-first day of March, and that I have read it with considerable pleasure and joy, except the blasphemous portion of the document in which this lie is attributed to the exalted majesty of God. Otherwise I felt quite tickled on my knee-cap and under my left heel at this evidence how cordially the devil and his minions, the Pope and the papists, hate me. May God turn them from the devil!” (Dr. W. H. T. Dau, “Luther Examined and Re-examined.” Found in CTM February 1946 No 2.)
I don’t know what being “tickled on my knee-cap and under my left heel” means. Maybe Chris Matthews can explain that to us. The point is Luther knew his enemies and he knew his God and he knew whom he had believed and was confident that God would keep him and bring him to life everlasting.
Just before he did die Luther repeated Psalm 31:6 four times times and said “Into your hands, I command my spirit. You have saved me, Father, you faithful God” then was silent. He answered no questions until a couple of friends asked him if he was dying in the name of Christ and accepted all of Christ’s teachings. Luther spoke a clear “Ja” and fell asleep. Luther’s last breath was taken at 2:45 am February 18, 1546. All witnesses say he died in peace.
I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the Lord. I have hated those who regard useless idols;
But I trust in the Lord. Into your hands, I command my spirit. You have saved me, Father, you faithful God.”I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the Lord. I have hated those who regard useless idols; But I trust in the Lord.
A whole life of struggle against the idolatry of human effort in salvation had to be bolstered by a strong trust in God the Mighty Fortress and Jesus the mighty Savior. Luther spoke his five fold confession in a house a short walk from the church in which he was baptized 63 years before. He always fortified himself with the words, “I am baptized”.
His influence cannot be measured. You ought to hear “A Mighty Fortress” sung in Kswahili or find his seal over a doorway in a village at the edge of the world to start to get it. If you know nothing about him except what is written here, remember this piece of advice – “When the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”
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We spent some time on the jots and tittles of the Law and ended up by saying that if you don’t keep the Law perfectly you should go to hell. Tough talk. We human beings when confronted with the Law of God will do interesting things. We will reduce its seriousness and turn it into suggestions. Even preachers will try and tell people that they need to try harder and pray more etc. If not that, we will self righteously think that we are keeping it and we are not so bad. Then we play games with other people and pretend that they are much worse. Like the Pharisee we pray “I thank you Lord that I am not like other people. I give my money and I pray and I help the poor etc.”
The Law cannot change the hearts of people. Only Jesus can do that and He does that by fulfilling the Law whole and entire for us, every jot and tittle, so that we can become the righteousness of God. Christ’s death on the cross frees us from self consciousness and self righteousness and makes us new creations. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4) We are recued from the Laws charges and demands and accusations and therefore we have a new life.
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Just before the Sunrise this morning I looked out my back door window and saw a very bright waning moon with Jupiter shining congenially nearby. It is a beautiful sight. This should be visible for a day or two yet. Look to the Southwest just before sunrise and it is pretty hard to miss.
Jupiter was the King of the god’s in the Roman world. He was also called Zeus by the Greeks and also Jove. He was a god of light and lightening and places where lightening had struck were considered property of the god’s and walled off with circular stones. His animals were eagles and the eagles that led the Roman armies to victory are considered his representatives.
When Paul and Barnabas healed a lame man at Lystra the townsfolk called Barnabus Jupiter, and Paul Mercury because he was preaching. Later in Acts 19 we learn that in Ephesus they worshipped Diana (Artemis, daughter of Jupiter and also goddess of the moon) and the “object that fell from Jupiter”. Scholars say that the idea that the Ephesians worshipped something that fell from the sky is only found in the book of Acts. What is more interesting is the fact that this temple was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It was at Ephesus that a silversmith caused a riot because of Paul’s preaching about Jesus. There was such a commotion that a great crowd gathered at the theatre in Ephesus but they didn’t know what they were rioting about. Acts 19;32 says, “some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and most of them did not know why they were there and why they had come together.” Sounds like a church convention or your local rent a mob.
This is the kind of thing that happens to me when I look out my window before I have my first cup of coffee. One thought leads to another and another and……………………….Share this on:
Pastor Berglin who served for a time at Zion in Bismarck traveled with Pastor Mike Giddings from Fargo to Kenya and served as English teachers at some Project 24 centers. While there they made an American style dinner for the students, and I am stull trying to figure out how they got the hot dogs past customs.
Pastor Berglin was able to learn a valuable lesson. Washing clothes in a tub out doors and hanging them to dry on trees is an art form. I have been in many places around the world were clothes were washed by hand and I have always been stunned at how nice they look. Remember Berglin and Giddings and their excellent adventure in prayer.
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Matthew 5:33-37New King James Version (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
The Law was put in place because God knows that in our everyday life we are careless with our words and casually lie or evade the truth. We make promise we have not intention to keep and use our promises and our words to get people off of our backs. There is a casual nastiness about the way we use the God given gift of speech and the jot and tittle here is that one is doomed by being forced to keeping one’s every word (Matt. 5:33-37).
“The Law therefore requires the oath, in order to invade the normal secularity of man’s speaking, in order that man may be brought to speak responsibly before God, for this once at least, by way of exception if nothing more. Jesus removes not only the casuistry of oaths but the oath itself (Matt 5:34- 36). The disciple, in the new situation created by the Christ, says Yes and says No, and that is oath enough; for his every word is spoken in responsibility to God, is spoken in the presence of the God who has drawn near to him in His Son; his every word is an oath. The disciple knows that everything beyond that simple Yes and No comes from the Evil One (Matt 5:37), who casts the gray veil of secularity over man’s words and conceals from men the fact that words have on them the accent of accountability, so that men come to think they can “say things,” and ignore the fact that there is a God who will judge every idle word of man (Matt 12:36,37). The repentant disciple has spoken a whole assent to God and with that assent has renounced the devil and all his works and all his delusions. “Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:23), for in them the will of the Law (that men speak before God) is affirmed, while that which made the Law impotent has been removed.” From Follow Me: Discipleship According to St. Matthew (c) 1961 CPH. Used with permission.
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Matthew 6:1-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
The jot and tittle here is that we are not even allowed the paltry gift of being able to advertise how good we are. The thanks I get from giving to a cause or a mission or a mercy endeavor should make me blush with frustration and not enjoyment at being recognized. I am to do what I do with no need or desire for recognition. I don’t want a wall in the clinic to bear my name for the foundation money I gave so that others will see my good works and glorify me. I don’t want a volunteer of the year award, or I shouldn’t. The jot and tittle here is that I really do. This is a righteousness before God that demands no thought of giving, praying, and fasting for show, or hope of reward from men (Matt.6:1-18). If I do I should go to hell.
There is rescue here and we talk about that soon.Share this on:
Matthew 5:43-48 New King James Version (NKJV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Hating your enemies was a codicil stuck onto the Law by religious folks who wanted to help God along a bit by recognizing human nature. God says I recognize human nature and that is why the Law will never be abrogated. Every jot and tittle must be fulfilled. One of the jots is loving and blessing our enemies with the perfection of the Father in heaven (Matt. 5: 43-48).Share this on:
Jesus points out the kind of goodness we must do and the kind of goodness which God expects according to the Law, which requires that every “jot” (the Hebrew letter yodh) and every “tittle” (one of the little projections which make the difference between the Hebrew words be kept (Matt. 5: 18). Take a look at the original “What’s In a Dot?” The demands of God go to small points that we usually don’t think about like in turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:38-42)
Matthew 5:38-42 New King James Version (NKJV)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
There is here the understanding of human nature. If someone hits me and breaks out my tooth, I want to decapitate them. If someone took out my eye I would want them dead. It was called proportionality. Human nature by itself will respond to harm with annihilation. We believe that we have to be protected from, or able to defend ourselves from those who would hurt us. Jesus says we are to do what He would do and expose ourselves to loveless men. If not we should go to hell.
There is rescue in the Gospel, but we still have some jots and tittles to deal with.
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Matthew 5:27-30 New King James Version (NKJV)
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
We tend to think of this commandment in terms of actions and not thoughts, but the thoughts always precede the action. The jot and tittle here is that we are to avoid even the look of lust. Some wag I talked to this week said “good luck in keeping the 6th Commandment when the Super Bowl highlights Lady Gaga and Mr. Clean.
Impossible demands that we hardly even think about and we are doomed. The Gospel is the rescue but there are still more jots and tittles.Share this on: