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Wittenberg - Worms - Wartburg

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The story of Martin Luther’s importance to the Protestant Reformation can be summed up in three particular places, representing three major events in his life. These include Wittenberg, where he nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of its church, Worms, where he defended his faith in front of the secular authorities, and Wartburg, where he hid for nearly a year and translated the Bible from Latin to German, the language of the people. A Catholic priest, Martin Luther became increasingly disenchanted with a number of practices of the Roman Catholic Church. As a professor of theology, he was a trained academic who spent a great deal of time studying the Scriptures and he was beginning to question the church’s position on salvation. It was a trip he made to Rome in 1511 when he began to seriously question his own spirituality. Luther was bothered by the luxurious living, the loose morals, and the lack of interest in spiritual things among the monks they visited as well. At the sam

From Religious to Spiritual

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  As a new believer, I tried my best to live up to the standards of God and what I thought He expected of me. Like Paul confessed in Romans 7, I learned that it was not possible to always do the things I have to do and to stop doing the things I shouldn’t. We all have to go through this process to find the real life in God, where we are no longer putting any confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).      Some think there is little difference between being religious and being spiritual, yet to God it is the difference between bondage and freedom, between law and grace (Galatians 5:1-4). The religious man is preoccupied with the “letter of the law” while the spiritual man walks by the leading of the Holy Spirit and the “spirit of the law”. The religious man tries to please God through human effort, a “good showing in the flesh”, while the spiritual man is resting in his faith in God, knowing that there is nothing he can do to make God love him more. The transition from the religious

From Law to Grace

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  “ For the Law was given through Moses ; grace and truth were realized [came into being] through Jesus Christ .”                John 1:17                                                                                                                                                                                                  The conversion from the old covenant to the new covenant is an interesting case study in the progressive revelation of God and His relationship to man. Scripture gives a prophetic picture of the introduction of this better covenant (grace) with the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua. In his closing commentary to the people in Deuteronomy 31-34, Moses told them that he would not be leading them into their promised land.   Deuteronomy 31:1-3 “ So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, ‘I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this

Consider the Work of God

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  When you want to get to know someone, you cannot rely on the five senses to tell you who a person really is. The real person lies somewhere beneath. What a person says and what he does tells so much more about the real person underneath. The same principle can be applied to God. Since He is Spirit (John 4:24), we cannot see or hear Him with our senses, but we can get to know Him by what He says and what He does. What He says, the Word of God gives us real insight into how He thinks and what are His motives. In Revelation 15:3, “ And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations !’” What He does confirms everything we need to know about who He is.   Psalm 66:1-7 “ 1 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; 2 Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious. 3 Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness

Walking in the Law

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  The word “law” is used in many different ways in the Scriptures so it is important to understand its meaning in the context it is used. In fact, identifying the context of a particular word, verse, or passage in the Bible is a primary principle that should govern one’s interpretation of the Word of God. When Psalm 119:1 says that the blessings of God are for those who walk in the law of the Lord, was He talking about the ten commandments and other dos and don’ts given to Moses? Or is He speaking of something more basic than living under a bunch of rules and regulations. Psalm 119:1-3 1 How blessed are those whose way [derek – the pathways of life] is blameless [tamiym – linked to truth, virtue, uprightness] , who walk in the law [torah – instruction, direction, doctrine] of the Lord. 2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies , who seek Him with all their heart. 3 They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways .   There is no consensus as to the author of P

The Father's Love

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  “16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him .”                            John 3:16-17 A story to illustrate His love After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. With that, an elderly stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.   “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the pacific coast”, he began, “when a fast-approaching s

Like a Weaned Child

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  “1 O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters , or in things too difficult for me. 2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me . 3 O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever .” Psalm 131   Psalm 131 is a psalm of David and became one of the fifteen Songs of Degrees and sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish feasts. We are not sure what event caused its writing, but we know that it speaks to the believers’ hope in the Lord. David starts by speaking of the condition of his heart, that it is not proud nor eyes haughty so as to look down on others. Approaching God requires a proper attitude not only toward Him, but toward others as well. Paul references this attitude in Philippians 2:3-8.   Philippians 2:3-8 “3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another