The Lutheran Spokesman (December 1995)
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Come, Your Hearts And Voices Raising
In this issue:
Where Will Satan Spend Christmas?
True Christmas Joy
Faithful To His Promise
Looking Back -- From December 1965
A Family Reunion (Lessons From The Old Testament)
Daily Bible Reading Guide
A Congregational Christmas Greeting
The Origin Of Life
Celebrating 100 Years
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There is one very powerful, influential figure whose name is rarely
mentioned in many circles this time of year -- and that is the devil
Eminently successful throughout the year in his efforts to turn
the hearts of people away from God, one may wonder where he
spends Christmas. At first glance it would seem to be a terrible time
of year for him. For each time Satan looks into the manger or hears
the Christmas story or a carol proclaimig the infant Savior, he must
cringe. When he consdiers how "big" Christmas has become, there seems
little he can do except to retreat into spritual hibernation until it
all blows over.
WRONG! If there is one thing Satan is master of, it is turning an
apparently hopeless situation to his advantage. And that is precisely
his Christmas strategy. Buoyed by polls indicating fewer Americans
than ever even believe he exists, he is more than happy to remain out
of the spotlight at Christmas -- so long as our Christmas celebrations
miss the mark!
He is happy to see the beautiful Christmas carols secularized, to hear
the Christmas story praised as simply a beautiful story. He delights
in seeing Christmas commercialized, in seeing people kept busy with
all the trimmings of Christmas. He doesn't even mind seeing people
being kind to one another, or calling for domestic or world peace, or
even going to church or being spiritual -- as long as it is only a
seasonal ritual, as long as people miss the real meaning of Christmas:
why God sent His Son to this earth.
Christmas is a wonderful season, but also one of the devil's busiest.
Have a blessed and happy Christmas -- but don't forget that the
"enemy" has not retreated or let down his guard. Rejoice in the coming
of the Christchild and the gift of salvation He brings to you and all
Make this the focal point of all your Christmas activities. For while
you will then bring joy to your Father in heaven, you will bring
sorrow and remorse to the one and only person you wish to have a truly
Have a wretched and unhappy Christmas, Satan.
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy
the works of the devil" (1 Jn. 3:8).
"Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their
humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power
of death -- that is, the devil -- and free those who all their lives
were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Heb. 2:14-15).
--Pastor David Schierenbeck
" ... We sympathize with those who experience misfortune at any
time of the year, but misfortune should have no influence on
Christmas joy ..."
"Joy to the world!" Those words of the carol will ring out again this
Christmas season. But there will be those who complain that there is
little Christmas joy for them -- that they just aren't able to
celebrate Christmas this year. Such expressions of woe are prompted by
a variety of personal or family tragedies: the home has burned, a
loved one has died, a job has been lost, serious illness has struck,
Such complaints give the impression that Christmas joy is dependent
upon the quality of life a person is experiencing. Apparently many
believe that it is possible to enjoy Christmas only if economic,
physical, and social conditions are acceptable. We sympathize with
those who experience misfortune at any time of the year, but
misfortune should have no influence on Christmas joy.
The people who can find no Christmas joy under adversity have
completely misunderstood the true joy of Christmas. That joy is not
found only among those who have a good life. It does not depend upon
The commercialism that has overtaken Christmas has misdirected the
attention of many poeple. They miss the basic reason for true
Christmas joy. They do not understand that the joy of Christmas is to
be found in spiritual blessings.
The carol continues: "The Lord is come!" It is the coming of God's
Son, Jesus Christ, as a baby in that Bethlehem stable that is to be
our source of joy. He came to live and die to bring eternal salvation
for all people.
Believing that He has done that for us, we have a joy which no earthly
tragedy should be allowed to diminish. We have before us the most
precious thing anyone can have -- eternal life.
Jesus left the glories of heaven to become a poor baby in a manger so
that we might have joy here and in eternity. The angel told the
shepherds, "I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all
people." The tidings? -- "There is born to you this day in the city of
David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Even in the face of earthly tribulation we can find our Christmas joy
in the sure hope of salvation which is ours through Christ the Lord.
--Keith N. Olmanson
(Past, Present, Future)
A Christmas Message From Our CLC President --
"... The Father's faithfulness to His promise of the past is
guarantee of His faithfulness to His promises of the present
as well as the future. "
Children enjoy looking through the Christmas toy catalog. They
identify what it is that they would like to have for Christmas.
Some of the things they desire may not be good for them at their
age, if ever. Almost certainly the number of things they would like
to have are beyond the budget of the parents. Yet if the parent does
not listen carefully to what the child is requesting, he may answer
with a casual, "Okay," or possibly a more non-committal, "We will
see." Sometimes the parent means it; at other times it may be just a
response to quiet the child. More often than not the child understands
the parental response as a promise. "You promised . . ." When he finds
that it was not all that he thought it was the child may enter into
negotiations, "I will be good if you will . . ."
Be careful how you respond. Be careful what you promise! Do not
promise more than you mean, or more than you can give.
At Christmas time our thoughts turn to remembrance of the promise
kept. Not a promise sought or negotiated, but a promise made with all
faithful intent and faithfully fulfilled.
We know many of the divine promises given by the Father in which He
promised to send the Savior. The Father made a promise recorded in
Genesis 3:15 even before Adam and Eve asked. Indeed, in their fear and
fright, as they hid from God, they could not have asked had they even
known for what to ask. Yet the Father promised.
Further, the promises of the Father were hardly non-committal
"maybes." Time and again He promised. Say to them that are of a
fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come;
. . . He will come and save you" (Is. 35:4). Again: "And the Redeemer
shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in
Jacob, saith the Lord" (Is. 59:20). Good promises in substance, as
well as credible promises! "God is not man, that He should lie; hath
He not said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken and shall He
not make it good" (Num. 23:19).
"And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His name Jesus,
for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mt. 1:21). Christmas is
celebration of a promise kept. "For unto you is born this day in the
city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11). He whom
the father said would come has come, bringing salvation.
In the midst of darkest sin,
Our faithful Lord His Promise gave;
His own Son would enter in
Our souls from sin and death to save.
What the Father gave is more than we would ever have asked for had we
been able to ask. It is the magnificence of divine grace -- that He
promised and gave because He was compelled by His own love to give us
what we in no way deserved or asked for.
In the turmoil of this age, in the world as well as in the church, our
minds are so often distracted and our hearts discouraged. In the
stress of our day to day labors, we -- pastors also have them with the
same effect -- may fail to see the love of God in making promise, and
the faithfulness of God in keeping promise. That is unfortunate to say
the least, because in that condition we so often fail to hear the
invitation, loaded with promise: "Come unto me all you who labor and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:28).
In heaven is our rest, but we need not wait. The Father invites us
this season, and daily: "Return unto thy rest, O my soul" (Ps. 116:7).
As we lean on Jesus, the Promised One Who has come, we will this
Christmas and as often as we do lean on Him, find that rest, and will
acknowledge with thanks: "For the Lord hath dealt bountifully with
(us) you" (Ps. 116:7). The Father's faithfulness to His promise of the
past is guarantee of His faithfulness to His promises of the present
as well as the future. "And this is the promise that He hath promised
us, even eternal life" (1 Jn. 2:25).
It remains the single purpose of our church, and the pastors of the
CLC, to preach the faithful Word so that you who hear may rest your
life and your hope confidently in both the Promiser and the Promised
-- our God Who shall bring all things to pass even as He has.
As the Word is preached faithfully, may we all hear it faithfully. We
know then that all will have a . . .
Blessed future in Christ (it's guaranteed),
Pastor Daniel Fleischer
From December 1965 --
GO! - A favorite topic for debate in educational circles involves the
age-old question: Which is more important in the training of
teachers, instructing them in what to teach, or how to teach it? Both,
of course, are recognzied as important. Should the chief emphasis,
however, lie on the subject matter to be taught or on the method of
teaching it? State teacher training schools are increasingly stressing
methods over subject matter.
The Bethlehem shepherds reminds us that it should not be so in the
task of teaching others the Good News about Jesus. No teachers on
earth have had as good a methods course as these shepherds received
in one night. They had the rare privilege of seeing how an angel of
the Lord preaches the Gospel. And this superb demonstration was given
them against the setting of a mass angel choir making the vault of the
heavens ring with the finest anthem this earth has ever heard.
Yet we find that the shepherds did not consider themselves properly
prepared to make known the message entrusted to them until they had
see the Child. Since their preaching was to be a witnessing, another
"go" had to prepare them for the mission "Go!" And so we hear them
say, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thng which is
come to pass." Then the point is specifically made that it was not
until "they had seen it" that "they make known abroad the saying which
was told them concerning this child."
Thus the pattern has been set for all Gospel heralds. The aged Simeon
waited a life-time to make his great testimony, until he himself had
held this Child in his arms and could say "mine eyes have seen thy
salvation." That gave him something to witness to others.
Preachers, were you hard put to find a fresh approach to the familiar
Christmas story this year? Don't throw away that book you bought on
sermon methods used by great preachers. But do not let it rob you of
the time needed to look with fresh eyes at the Child whose name was
called Jesus, because He was to save the people from their sins. Do
not let the search for better techniques interfere with your searching
the stable and the manger for details about this wondrous birth that
may not have caught your eye on previous visits.
Church School teachers, do get what help you can from Teaching Little
Amalee Jane and similar How To books, but remember that you are not
really ready to tell the little ones what this holy Infant means for
them until you have well digested the personal significance of those
blessed words: "Unto YOU is born a Savior."
Canvassers, take heart! No one is asked to face the chilly reception
the world gives the Gospel message without having first been well
fortified by the warmth and love and strength to be found at the
Our King bids no one go into all the world to preach the Gospel who
has not first received the gracious invitation "Come unto Me." There
is the heart and core of our training. First we eat at the feast our
King has prepared for us. Then, filled and strengthened, we are ready
to tell others how good it tastes and invite them to the banquet
Can you imagine the shepherds telling one after another that the
Messiah had come before they themselves had seen that holy Child who
fulfilled all the ancient prophecies?
On the other hand, can you imagine those same shepherds saying nothing
to others after they had seen HIM?
-- Norbert Reim
"That We Might have Hope" (Rom. 15:4)
Genesis Chapters Thirty-two Through Thirty-five
A FAMILY REUNION
Family reunions are a welcome occurrence in many families. They
provide an opportunity for family members to reacquaint themselves
with each other. However, family reunions may also be a time of
anxiety for some. Perhaps over the years relationships have become
strained for a variety of reasons. Perhaps differences within families
make getting along difficult. These problems may prove difficult, but
are usually not life-threatening. The focus of this article will be on
the family reunion of Esau and Jacob, one in which Jacob did fear for
Esau And Jacob
Why was Jacob afraid of this reunion? As you may recall, Jacob had
used deceit in getting his father Isaac to bless him instead of Esau.
Jacob then hastily left for his uncle Laban's house after becoming
aware of Esau's threat to kill him. Now over twenty years had passed
since they had seen one another, and Jacob was not sure how Esau felt
toward him. Would he still bear a grudge and seek vengeance?
Should Jacob have been afraid of the reunion? Even after all God had
done for him, Jacob still had difficutly putting his confidence solely
in his heavenly Father. Think of how God had protected him in the
past. He allowed Jacob to escape Esau's wrath the first time. He
blessed Jacob with a vision of angels ascending and descending on the
ladder, assuring him of His promises. He also blessed Jacob's every
endeavor at his uncle Laban's, despite Laban's ill-treatment of Jacob.
He provided Jacob with great wealth and a large family. He granted him
a peace departure from Laban. Finally, He instructed Jacob to return
to Canaan and promised to be with him.
God was aware of Jacob's weaknesses and again strengthened him by
providing a visible host of angels for his assurance. Still, Jacob
felt a need to "test the waters" before meeting Esau directly. So he
sent servants before him to tell Esau that "thy servant Jacob" wishes
to find grace in the sight of his "lord." No doubt Jacob chose these
expressions of humility in an attempt to block out any memories Esau
had of the "stolen" birthright. In reply, Jacob only received the news
that Esau and four hundred soldiers were coming to meet him. Jacob was
aware of Esau's recent military victories in the land of Seir and
feared now that Esau's army would conquer him.
Jacob's first reaction was to divide all of his possessions into two
groups, so that if Esau conquered the one half, the others may have
time to escape. Jacob then prayed to the Jehovah God, reminding Him of
the promises He had made to him regarding his safety and his
descendants. Jacob then delivered a huge gift to Esau in "successive
droves." He was hoping to appease his brother through his
The night before their scheduled reunion, Jacob chose to be alone.
Scripture tells us that throughout the entire night a Man wrestled
with Jacob. Because He could not prevail against him, the Man
displaced Jacob's hip. But Jacob, demanding a blessing from the Man,
refused to let go of Him. The Man then gave Jacob a new name, Israel,
which means "prince of God." Jacob had prevailed as a prince in his
struggle with the Lord.
Now Jacob was ready to meet Esau. After sending his wives and children
before him, Jacob bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he
came near his brother. But Esau ran to meet Jacob and they embraced
and kissed and wept. Jacob then introduced Esau to his large family.
Esau attempted to return the gift to Jacob, but Jacob insisted that
Esau keep it as an assurance of the peace between them. Shortly later
the joyous reunion ended.
Lessons For Us
What can we learn from this account? The most important lesson we can
learn is to rely on the promises of God -- they will come to pass!
It may be easy for us to see how foolish it was for Jacob to fear his
brother. How weak his faith must have been after all God had done for
him. Stop a moment and think. Don't we too sometimes find ourselves
doubting our salvation or God's own love for us? Or how often have we
become much more concerned over something much smaller in our lives?
How often have we fretted over our health, a job interview, a
relationship with a friend, financial concerns, or even something as
trivial as a bad haircut? Don't we have the same promises of
protection and salvation from our heavenly Father as Jacob did?
God tells us in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us,
and that all things will work together for our good. He tells us to
cast our care upon Him, and to ask, seek, and knock in times of
trouble. In Romans chapter 8 we are told: "if God is for us, who can
be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up
for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things."
Nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord."
Jacob learned to hold fast to the promises of God when he wrestled
with God. Let us approach God's throne with the same confidence, being
assured of Jesus' saving work on our behalf. Let us "wrestle" with
God, knowing that His promise to take us to heaven to be with Him will
come to pass. That will be the best family reunion of all.
--Teacher Joseph Lau
"And He said to me, 'Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your
stomach with this scroll that I give you.' So I ate it, and it was
in my mouth like honey in sweetness . . .." (Ezekiel 3:3)
A THOUSAND SERVINGS
It is generally agreed that we realize the greatest measure of
spiritual growth by opening our hearts and minds directly to the Word.
Seeing with our eyes and hearing with our own ears.
So we offer, once again, Bible selections for each day of the year for
us to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest. They are chosen to
extend the kingdom truth which you likely enjoy hearing at church on a
Sunday or festival. For they embrace the thematic design of the
popular THREE YEAR LECTIONARY. Over three years you will enjoy a
thousand servings of the Bread of Life well balanced to the needs of
our spiritual nourishment.
Most of us do benefit from the reflections and applications of trusted
teachers of the Word, also in our personal devotions. We have some
suggestions for that.
In his retirement years Professor C. M. Gullerud, now deceased,
applied himself to writing gospel-centered devotions with children
especially in mind. His grandfatherly heart and theological acumen
qualified him well for the task. Three volumes of the Family Devotion
Hour can be secured from the CLC Book House (ILC, 501 Grover Road, Eau
Claire, WI 54701). Unit costs from $6.25 to $9.00.
For Adult Readers
Day by Day We Magnify Thee has many loyal users, and it is still
available. But those who relish sampling the sturdy writings of Martin
Luther will be delighted with a new collection, Daily Readings from
Luther's Writings (available from the Book House in paper for about
$20.00). Editor Owen has made a fresh selection from the contemporary
translations of Luther's Works and from What Luther Says, Vol. III.
Arranged by topics. Daily each week in the four seasons.
Last year a user of the daily Guide expressed her appreciation by
telling how she was helped. She had been offered a high prestige
administrative position. Very attractive career advancement. But it
would leave little for the rest of life with church and spouse and
family. The day she needed to decide she read the scheduled selection.
From Ecclesiastes. "Vanity, vanity . . . All is vanity." You know what
her decision was after that pointed reminder!
January 1, The Name of Jesus
Tuesday: Luke 2:25-40; Wednesday: Colossians 3:12-17;
Thursday: 1 Samuel 2:18-26; Friday: Luke 2:41-52
January 6, The Epiphany of Our Lord
January 7, The Baptism of Our Lord
Psalm 45:7-9; Isaiah 42:1-7; Mark 1:4-11; Acts 10:34-38;
Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:15-22; Titus 3:4-7
January 14, 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 67; 1 Samuel 3:1-10; John 1:43-51, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Isaiah
62:1-5; John 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
January 21, 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 62:5-12; Jonah 3:1-5,10; Mark 1:14-10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31;
Isaiah 61:1-6; Luke 4:14-21; 1 Corinthians 12:12-21,26-27
January 28, 4th Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 36; Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Mark 1:21-28; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13;
Jeremiah 1:4-10; Luke 4:20-32; 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13
February 4, 5th Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 103; Job 7:1-7; Mark 1:29-39; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Isaiah
6:1-13; Luke 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 14:12b-20
February 11, 6th Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 32; 2 Kings 5:1-14; Mark 1:40-45; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27;
Jeremiah 17:5-8; Luke 6:17-26; 1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20
February 18, The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Psalm 148; 2 Kings 2:1-12; Mark 9:2-9
February 21, Ash Wednesday
Psalm 51:1-13; Isaiah 59:12-20; Luke 18:9-14; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
February 25, 1st Sunday in Lent
Psalm 6; Genesis 22:1-18; Mark 1:12-15; Romans 8:31-39; Deuteronomy
26:5-10; Luke 4:1-13; Romans 10:8b-13
March 3, 2nd Sunday in Lent
Psalm 73; Genesis 28:10-22; Mark 8:31-38; Romans 5:1-11; Jeremiah
26:8-15; Luke 13:31-35; Philippians 3:17-4:1
March 10, 3rd Sunday in Lent
Psalm 19:7-14; Exodus 20:1-17; John 2:13-22; 1 Corinthians 1:22-25;
Exodus 3:1-8,15; Luke 13:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
March 17, 4th Sunday in Lent
Psalm 38; Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-21; Ephesians 2:4-10; Isaiah
12:1-6; Luke 15:1-3,11-32; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
March 24, 5th Sunday in Lent
Psalm 143; Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 12:20-33; Hebrews 5:7-9; Isaiah
43:16-21; Luke 20:9-19; Philippians 3:8-14
March 31, Palm Sunday
Psalm 24; Zechariah 9:9-10; Mark 11:1-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Exodus
12:1-4; John 19:17-30; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
April 7, The Resurrection of Our Lord
Psalm 118; Isaiah 25:6-9; Mark 16:1-8; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Exodus
15:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
April 14, 2nd Sunday of Easter
Psalm 16; Acts 3:12-20; John 20:19-31; 1 John 5:1-6; Acts 5:12,17-32;
John 20:19-31; Revelation 1:14-18
April 21, 3rd Sunday of Easter
Psalm 139:1-12; Acts 4:8-12; Luke 24:36-49; 1 John 1:1-2:2;
Acts 9:1-19; John 21:1-14; Revelation 5:11-14
April 28, 4th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 23; Acts 4:23-33; John 10:11-18; 1 John 3:1-2; Acts
13:15,16a,26-33; John 10:22-30; Revelation 7:9-17
May 5, 5th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 67; Acts 8:26-40; John 15:1-8; 1 John 3:18-24; Acts 13:44-52;
John 13:31-35; Revelation 21:1-6
May 12, 6th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 98; Acts 11:19-26; John 15:9-17; 1 John 4:1-11
May 16, The Ascension of Our Lord
Acts 1:1-11; Luke 24:44-53; Ephesians 2:16-23
May 19, 7th Sunday of Easter
Psalm 8; Acts 1:15-26; John 17:11b-19; 1 John 4:13-21; Acts 16:6-10;
John 17:20-26; Revelation 22:12-17,20
May 26, The Day of Pentecost
Psalm 51b; Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 14:25-27; Acts 2:1-21; Genesis
11:1-9; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-11; Acts 2:37-47
June 2, The Holy Trinity (1st Sunday after Pentecost)
Psalm 150; Isaiah 6:1-8; John 3:1-17; Romans 8:14-17; Numbers 6:22-27;
John 16:12-15; Romans 5:1-5
June 9, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 126; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Mark 2:23-28; 2 Corinthians 4:5-12; 1
Kings 8:22-30,41-43; Luke 7:1-10; Galatians 1:1-10
June 16, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 30; Genesis 3:8-15; Mark 3:20-35; 2 Corinthians 4:13-18; 1 Kings
17:17-24; Luke 7:11-17; Galatians 1:11-24
June 23, 4th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 92:1-15; Ezekiel 17:22-24; Mark 4:26-34; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; 2
Samuel 11:26-12:15; Luke 7:36-50; Galatians 2:11-21
June 30, 5th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 46; Job 38:1-11; Mark 4:35-41; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Zechariah
13:7-9; Luke 9:18-24; Galatians 3:23-29
July 7, 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 30; Lamentations 3:22-33; Mark 5:24-43; 2 Corinthians 8:1-14; 1
Kings 19:14-21; Luke 9:51-62; Galatians 5:1,13-25
July 14, 7th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 66; Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6;1-6; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Isaiah
66:10-14; Luke 10:1-12,16-20; Galatians 6:1-10,14-16
July 21, 8th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 78; Amos 7:10-15; Mark 6:7-13; Ephesians 1:3-14; Deuteronomy
30:9-14; Luke 10:25-37; Colossians 1:1-14
July 28, 9th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 23; Jeremiah 23:1-6; Mark 6:30-34; Ephesians 2:13-22; Genesis
18:1-14; Luke 10:38-42; Colossians 1:21-28
August 4, 10th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 84; Exodus 24:3-11; John 6:1-15; Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16; Genesis
18:20-32; Luke 11:1-13; Colossians 2:6-15
August 11, 11th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 145; Exodus 16:2-15; John 6:24-35; Ephesians 4:17-24;
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:18-26; Luke 12:13-21; Colossians 3:1-11
August 18, 12th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 34:1-8; 1 Kings 19:4-8; John 6:41-51; Ephesians 4:30-5:2;
Genesis 15:1-6; Luke 12:32-40; Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16
August 25, 13th Sunday after Penteocst
Psalm 1; Proverbs 9:1-6; John 6:51-58; Ephesians 5:15-20; Jeremiah
23:23-29; Luke 12:49-53; Hebrews 12:1-13
September 1, 14th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 71; Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18; John 6:60-69; Ephesians 5:21-31;
Isaiah 66:18-24; Luke 13:22-30; Hebrews 12:18-24
September 8, 15th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 119:129-136; Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23;
Ephesians 6:10-20; Proverbs 25:6-7; Luke 14:1,7-14; Hebrews 13:1-8
September 15, 16th after Pentecost
Psalm 146; Isaiah 35:4-7a; Mark 7:31-37; James 1:17-27; Proverbs
9:8-12; Luke 14:25-33; Philemon 1:1,10-21
September 22, 17th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 116:1-9; Isaiah 50:4-10; Mark 8:27-35; James 2:1-5,8-10,14-18;
Exodus 32:7-14; Luke 15:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17
September 29, 18th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 31; Jeremiah 11:18-20; Mark 9:30-37; James 3:13-18; Amos 8:4-7;
Luke 16:1-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-8
October 6, 19th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 135:1-7,13-14; Numbers 11:16,24-29; Mark 9:38-50; James 4:7-12;
Amos 6:1-7; Luke 16:19-31; 1 Timothy 6:6-16
October 13, 20th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 139b; Genesis 2:18-24; Mark 10:2-16; Hebrews 2:9-11; Habakkuk
1:1-3; 2:1-4; Luke 17:1-10; 2 Timothy 1:3-14
October 20, 21st Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 90; Amos 5:6-7,10-15; Mark 10:17-27; Hebrews 3:1-6; Ruth
1:1-19a; Luke 17:11-19; 2 Timothy 2:8-13
October 27, Reformation Sunday
Psalm 46; Jeremiah 31:31-34; John 8:31-36; Romans 3:19-28; Isaiah
55:1-11; Matthew 11:12-15; Revelation 14:6-7
November 3, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 126; Jeremiah 31:7-9; Mark 10:46-52; Hebrews 5:1-10; Deuteronomy
10:12-22; Luke 18:9-14; 2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
November 10, The Last Judgment
Psalm 90; Malachi 4:1-2a; John 5:19-24; Hebrews 9:24-28; Jeremiah
26:1-6; Luke 19:11-27; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
November 17, The Saints Triumphant
Psalm 118; Daniel 12:1-3; John 5:25-29; Hebrews 10:11-18; Isaiah
65:17-25; Luke 20:27-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
November 24, Christ the King, Last Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 45; Daniel 7:13-14; John 18:33-37; Revelation 1:4b-8
November 28, Thanksgiving Day
Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Luke 17:11-19; Philippians 4:6-20
(Note: The following coordinate with Series B of the Three Year
December 1, 1st Sunday in Advent
Psalm 25:1-9; Jeremiah 33:14-16; Luke 21:25-36; 1 Thessalonians
3:9-13; Isaiah 2:1-5; Matthew 24:37-44; Romans 13:11-14
December 8, 2nd Sunday in Advent
Psalm 24; Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 3:1-6; Philippians 1:3-11; Isaiah
11:1-10; Matthew 3:1-12; Romans 15:4-13
December 15, 3rd Sunday in Advent
Psalm 130; Zephaniah 3:14-17; Luke 3:7-18; Philippians 4:4-7; Isaiah
35:1-10; Matthew 11:2-11; James 5:7-10
December 22, 4th Sunday in Advent
Psalm 85; Micah 5:2-5; Luke 1:39-55
December 25, The Festival of the Nativity
Psalm 98; Isaiah 52:7-10; John 1:1-14; Hebrews 1:1-9
December 29, First Sunday after Christmas
Psalm 111; 1 Samuel 2:18-20,26; Luke 2:41-52
LET US THANK OUR GOD, THEN, FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF HIS GRACE!
Editor's note: Former pastor Rollin A. Reim continues to minister to
God's people as he finds opportunity to do so. One way is by
putting together these annual daily Bible readings for the Spokesman
-- and for you. The opening "A Thousand Servings" are also his good
suggestions. For all of you we say: "Thank you, Rollin!"
Search the scriptures: for in them ye thaink ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me. -- John 5:39
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given."
-- Isaiah 9:6
The soft white blanket covers all
The temperatures grow cold
There is no doubt for each one knows
And no one must be told
The wintry season has begun
With mittens and the caps
The boots and shovels all are found
The coats, the scarves, the wraps
But with these usual yearly preps
Our hearts and minds begin
To think about our Savior's birth
'Bout Jesus Christ and sin.
How God's own Son comes down to us
To hearts all dead and cold
And covers them with wraps of love
As Scripture has foretold.
That though our sins as scarlet are
They shall be white as snow
Though they be red like crimson, yet
In Christ they're white as wool.
So in this wintry season when
The snow has covered all
And temperatures drop down a bit
Come to God's cattle stall.
There you will find a peaceful rest
You'll hear the angels sing
As you kneel down and there behold
Your Savior and your king.
For unto you is born this day
A Savior from your sin
In Him you'll find God's warm embrace
Fear not to enter in.
He is the One who'll warm your heart
And lift your spirit high
And in the midst of cold and snow
Your every need supply.
-- A congregational Christmas greeting of Pastor & Mrs. L. Dale
Redlin, Immanuel, Mankato, Minn.
One of the most fundamental axioms of biology is that all life comes
from pre-existing life. Still, until the later part of the 19th
century, life was believed to arise from non-living matter by a
process called "spontaneous generation." Ancient Egyptians, for
example, thought mice arose from the mud of the Nile. In 1600, J. B.
Helmont even reported "proof" for the spontaneous generation of mice
claiming that if wheat, cheese, and soiled linen are placed together
in a jar, mice will eventually appear! This idea of the spontaneous
generation of life from non-life was so deeply ingrained in biological
thought that it took nearly 200 years of experimental evidence to
completely disprove it.
In 1650 Francesco Redi, an Italian physician, proved that maggots come
from living flies and not from lifeless meat as was widely believed.
This was a serious blow to spontaneous generation, but when bacteria
were later discovered, it was thought that at least micro-organisms
might arise from non-life. This notion too was finally laid to rest in
1864 by the great scientist (and creationist) Lewis Pasteur, who
demonstrated that bacteria can only come from living bacteria. When
Pasteur reported his results before the French Academy he confidently
declared that, "never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation
arise from this mortal blow." Pasteur never dreamed that the widely
discredited evolutionary ideas of his contemporary, Charles Darwin,
would one day become widely accepted by the scientific community,
reviving once again the notion of spontaneous generation. In his book,
The Origins of Life, evolutionist Cyril Ponnamperuma said: "It is,
perhaps, ironic that we tell beginning students in biology about
Pasteur's experiments as the triumph of reason over mysticism, yet we
are coming back to spontaneous generation, albeit in a more refined
and scientific sense, namely, to chemical evolution."
Most evolutionists are dead certain that life evolved by chance
(without divine intervention) from non-living chemicals through a
process called "chemical evolution." Some evolutionists even insist
that life must have independently evolved more than once on earth.
Most evolutionists are confident that life has evolved many times in
many other places in the universe. Although Darwin spoke longingly of
the chance origin of life from simple chemicals in some "warm little
pond," there has never been evidence that anything remotely like this
has ever happened. In fact, the evidence for chemical evolution is so
embarrassing, some evolutionists insist that the whole idea of the
origin of life is not even a part of the theory of evolution but
rather is a creationist plot to discredit evolution!
Evolutionists speculate that life gradually evolved from mere hydrogen
in a series of stages. The first stage began about 15 billion years
ago with the "Big Bang" which produced an expanding cloud of hydrogen
gas -- all else was void. With time and energy, hydrogen transformed
into all the other chemical elements. Then, about 4 billion years ago,
the earth's atmosphere consisted of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and
water, from which life would inevitably evolve.
During stage two it is believed that simple chemicals from stage one
formed the small organic molecules essential to life such as sugars,
amino acids, and nucleotides. In 1953 Miller and Urey claimed to
"stimulate" the evolution of some of these organic molecules from
methane and ammonia using apparatus and conditions designed to achieve
the desired result.
Stage three in chemical evolution is supposed to have involved the
stringing together of small organic molecules into long chain-like
molecules called polymers. The most important biological polymers are
starches (polymers of sugars), proteins (polymers of amino acids), and
DNA (polymers of nucleotides). In another "evolution stimulation"
experiment, Sidney Fox produced protein-like molecules by heating
pure-dry amino acids at high temperatures. When this material was
allowed to cool in water it formed small globules which he called
"microspheres." Although these microspheres are stone dead,
evolutionists refer to them as "protocells," implying that they
represent an early stage of living cells. In fact, about the only
similarity between microspheres and living cells is that they are, as
their name implies, small and spherical.
The final stage of chemical evolution involves the chance
transformation of organic molecules and polymers into the unfathomably
complex machinery of living cells. Here evolutionary speculation is so
unrestrained by evidence, or even plausibility, that it fails to merit
serious consideration. The biochemist Dr. David Green pretty well
summed it up when he said in his book Molecular Insights into the
Living Process: "the macromolecule-to-cell transition is a jump of
fantastic dimensions, which lies beyond the range of testable
hypothesis. In this area all is conjecture. The available facts do not
provide a basis for postulating that cells arose on this planet."
Evolutionists have tried to get around this problem by invoking long
periods of time in the hope that, given enough time, virtually
anything is possible -- except, of course, special creation.
Now even some evolutionists fear that time and chance may not be the
answer. The Nobel laureate Dr. Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA),
in his book Life Itself, insists that the probability of life's chance
origin simply defies calculation. Crick, an atheist, says: "What is so
frustrating for our present purpose is that it seems almost impossible
to give any numerical value to the probability of what seems a rather
unlikely sequence of events....An honest man, armed with all the
knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense,
the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle."
Incredibly, Crick concludes that the first living organisms on earth
may have been "seeded" in our oceans by intelligent beings from
Sir Fred Hoyle, father of the "Big Bang" theory, has recently
concluded that the origin of life by chance is an absurd idea. In his
book Evolution From Space, Hoyle insists that it is obvious that the
complexity of life demands an intelligent designer, possibly even
(heaven forbid!) God. According to Hoyle: "Once we see, however, that
the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule
as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable
properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect
deliberate. ... It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure
of intelligence must reflect ... higher intelligences ... even to the
limit of God ... such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it
is not widely accepted as being self-evident." In a recent address at
Cal Tech, Hoyle said that no amount of time now being considered by
evolutionists is even remotely adequate to accomplish the formation of
a higher living organism by chance. Such an event, he said, would be
comparable to the chance that "a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard
might assemble a Boeing 747 from materials therein"!
Evolutionists, who must essentially invoke miracles without God, have
no other choice than to believe in chance events so improbable they
undermine the statistical foundation on which modern science rests. In
his book Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to Creation of Life on Earth,
evolutionist Robert Shapiro abandons all skepticism and lamely argues:
"One escape hatch yet exists for spontaneous generation. Why need the
event have been probable? We can just stare at the odds, shrug, and
note with thanks how lucky we were. ... After all, improbable events
occur all the time." Think of it, with an unquestioning faith like
this in God, we Christians could move mountains!
--Dr. David N. Menton
St. John's, Okabena, Minnesota --
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS
In 1995 St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Okabena, Minn. has
been observing its 100th anniversary. Pastor and people feel like
Peter did when he beheld the Lord's glory on the Mount: "It is good
for us to be here!
It is good for us to behold the grace-glory of our Lord as we review
His merciful ways with our church during the past century. It is good
for us to speak of how He has preserved His saving Word and Sacraments
among us in spite of the weaknesses of pastors and people.
The Lord's Gracious Working
When our Lord invited those three disciples down from the Mount of
Transfiguration, it was not to stay or to quit the work, as if all was
finished and they had attained the blessing intended for them. Neither
does He intend that those whom He has brought to celebrate one hundred
years of His grace should sit and quit. We have not all attained the
heavenly glory He desires for all the sheep of His flock. We have not
even seen "all the sheep" of this flock! Others are yet to be added to
us and to the invisible sheep-fold of Christ's church through Word and
Sacrament. Much work remains!
The fraternal insurance issue took many children and several young
families from the congregation in 1979-1983. It appeared to some in
the community that St. John's membership was becoming "old" and
outdated as its Bible doctrine. However, since 1983 nearly 30 members
have been transferred by our Lord to heaven's glory while almost 50
children have been brought into His kingdom through baptism.
There is more evidence of the Lord's gracious working among us. Over
the past 40 years adult Bible Class attendance has increased from
25-30 per Sunday to 40-45 per Sunday. In 1964 our communicants
attended the Lord's table an average of four times per year. By 1994
that number had doubled. Ten miles was a long way to ride a
horse-drawn sleigh or buggy on a Sunday morning in 1895. In 1995 more
than half of our membership live at least eight miles from church, and
20-30% of the congregation travel from 15-50 miles nearly every
Church, Bible Class, and communion attendance all demonstrate the
continuing activity of our Savior's Word of grace among us. The
dedication of our Sunday School and VBS teachers, church officers and
committees, organists, janitors, choir members and directors, etc.
shows the power of Christ's Word to move our people to joyful service
in the church through the years. The resolve of St. John's membership
to reestablish a Christian day school in its midst (one was operated
in the years 1904-1908, and again in 1912-1916) indicates the high
value placed upon the thorough instruction of their children in the
Word of Truth.
Looking To The Future
For all of the above, and much more, we give most humble thanks to our
God. We boast of nothing in ourselves. Neither is it our desire as
pastor or people to sit on this mountain in the tents of
self-satisfaction, just remembering the past. Our Lord went down from
the mountain because there was work to be done for the salvation of
sinners -- a work of terrible suffering on His part before the victory
and eternal glory. When the three disciples wanted to sit in religious
comfort on the mountaintop and choose their own works for Christ ("We
will make tents!"), the Father's voice thundered from the cloud: "This
is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Mt.
There is one work for St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in the
next century as in the last -- the hearing and sharing of Christ's
Word. It is true that rural America is shrinking in population; many
of our members have left the area over the years. Furthermore, in a
small community like ours it is especially hard for a church to defend
the "hard sayings" of our Savior's Word (Jn. 6:60) without being
falsely accused or labeled as a "strict" or "unloving" people. There
is no place to hide.
On the prairie flats of southwest Minnesota our God has made us a
"city set on a hill, that cannot be hidden" (Mt. 5:14). Rejoicing that
we cannot be hidden, let us not hide! The same light of life we have
so freely received must be shared with others of our community, that
they too may be saved. We need to go out with the gospel if we want
them to come in to the Body of Christ.
To share the Gospel for the salvation of sinners, that is why the Lord
and His three friends came down from the mountain. Neither the Son of
Man nor His disciples had finished their work or attained the eternal
glory that awaited them. Nor is it time for us to sit, quit, or hide.
"It is good for us to be here!" But it will be far better there, when
our work is done. So help us, Lord, by Your enabling Word!
--Pastor Vance Fossum
On August 19/20, 1995, with the knowledge of President Fleischer, I
installed Bethany Tiefel as afternoon teacher of grades 5-6 at Messiah
Lutheran School, Eau Claire, Wis.
--Pastor Paul Tiefel
On September 9/10, 1995, with the knowledge of President Fleischer, I
installed Mark Gullerud as the second full-time pastor at Messiah
Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, Wis.
--Pastor Paul Tiefel
On October 15, as authorized by President Daniel Fleischer, I
installed Jerome Barthels as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Ballwin,
MO (St. Louis County).
--Roland A. Gurgel
In accordance with 1 Cor. 14:40 I installed the Rev. Paul G. Naumann
into the pastoral ministry of Ascension Lutheran Church of DuPont, WA
on July 16, 1995. On August 13, 1995 I likewise also installed
Principal Quinn T. Sprengeler into the teaching ministry at
Redemption Lutheran School of Alderwood Manor, WA.
--PCPC Visitor B. J. Naumann
As authorized by President Fleischer, I installed Mr. Kurt Koenig as
lower grade school teacher of Gethsemane Ev. Lutheran School, Saginaw,
MI on August 13, 1995. Kurt's father, Pastor David Koenig, preached
--Pastor Mark Bernthal
As authorized by President Daniel Fleischer, I installed Rev. Michael
Roehl as pastor of St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Bismarck, N. Dak. on
Sunday, October 15, 1995. Assisting in the installation were pastors
Paul Krause, Walter Schaller, and Michael Schierenbeck.
--Pastor Paul Larsen
Change Of Address
912 N. Bond St.
Saginaw, MI 48602
Phone (517) 752-7239
The Board of Regents for Immanuel Lutheran College announces the
following nominations to fill the vacancy created by the resignation
of Prof. Dean Carstensen:
Tom Caulton Leif Olmanson
Timothy Cox Ross Roehl
Kevin Hulke Gene Schreyer
Lane Fischer Alvin Sieg
Daniel Gurgel Michael Sippert
Joseph Lau Robert Snell
David Lundin James Sydow
Karl Olmanson Theodore Thurow
All comments from members of CLC congregations regarding these
nominees should be in the hands of the undersigned before January 6,
Pastor Mike Sydow, Sec.
Board of Regents for ILC
Rt. 2, Box 664
Markesan, WI 53946
May the joy and peace of a Christ-filled Christmas be with
each of you now and through the coming year.
-- The staff of the Lutheran Spokesman