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A Musical Evening

Listening to my daughter and her cohort performing with their music school.

Especially looking forward to an ensemble rendition of ‘Tears In Heaven’.


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The Reformation And The Enjoyment Of God

Gleaning through a plethora of posts about the Reformation, this point from Michael Reeves is one that stands out.
If you’re a Christian and your attitude toward God is not marked by fear, uncertainty or anxiety, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.

Consider these words, written by a team of scholars in Westminster, England, in the 1640s: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
Those words capture the heart of the Reformation. For Luther’s discovery made abundantly clear that God is glorious: beautiful, good, kind, and generous. We can therefore actually enjoy God. Not hate. Not avoid. Not appease. Enjoy.
This was all quite different to what so many had known before. As a monk Luther had confessed he’d come to hate God; doubtful of whether he’d made himself worthy of heaven, he shook with fear at the thought of how God might judge him on the last day.
Yet armed with his new discovery, Luther realized he could face such fears like this:

When the Devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satis­faction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.”

And so the horrifying doomsday became for him “the most happy Last Day.” The gospel had so transformed Luther’s life that he was able to look to the future with unshakeable hope and assurance that he would enjoy the living God forever.

source


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A Reformation Of Confidence (via Kevin DeYoung)

If you prayed as a Christian in the name of Jesus, completely confident that God hears and accepts your prayer, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
Kevin DeYoung interacts with the writings of Martin Luther:

[In addition to other spiritual truths, the Reformation] was also about confidence. Not self-confidence, but confidence that God is for us not against us, confidence that we can go to heaven without a sentence in purgatory first, confidence that though we cannot rest in our works, we can rest in Christ’s.
Consider, for example, this powerful reflection from Luther on the confidence we should have in prayer.
+++
…one of the things we must never forget to say is that the Reformation mercifully allowed fearful sinners to have a new kind of relationship with God. The Reformation reminded God’s people that they can have direct access to God through Christ. It re-centered the church on the lavish, scandalous good news of the cross. And it reassured them (and us) that God is on the side of the justified saint, even though they were still struggling sinners.

Read Luther’s words at DeYoung’s blog.


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What Is The Greatest Of All Protestant “Heresies”? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

If you worshipped as a Christian yesterday assured of your salvation, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
Sinclair Ferguson writes about a lesser acknowledged fruit of the Church’s great awakening, by interacting with one of its contemporary critics:

Let us begin with a church history exam question. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) was a figure not to be taken lightly. He was Pope Clement VIII’s personal theologian and one of the most able figures in the Counter-Reformation movement within sixteenth-century Roman Catholicism. On one occasion, he wrote: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is _______ .” Complete, explain, and discuss Bellarmine’s statement.
How would you answer? What is the greatest of all Protestant heresies? Perhaps justification by faith? Perhaps Scripture alone, or one of the other Reformation watchwords?
Those answers make logical sense. But none of them completes Bellarmine’s sentence. What he wrote was: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is assurance.”
A moment’s reflection explains why…

Read the rest of the post at Ligonier.


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Your Word – Sunday Songs

Your Word, a song about God’s Word, from EMU Music.

The lyrics:
1.
Your word is good, it’s ever faithful
Worth more than gold, the heart’s delight
Your word gives life to all who hear and obey
Your word endures forever
2.
Your word is true, it never changes
It formed the earth; sustains it still
Your word defends; providing refuge and strength
Your word endures forever
Chorus.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet
Your word is a light unto my path
For your word is my hope, it’s my joy and my song
Your word endures forever
3.
Your word transforms, it lifts the humble
Rebukes the proud, protects the poor
Your word discerns the mind and spirit of all
Your word endures forever
Your word endures forever
Chorus.
Bridge.
Your word is more than just letters on pages; it’s life and it’s love and it’s freedom for us
Your word is more than just wisdom of ages; its treasures are endless, it’s always enough
Your word is more than just stories of old; it’s the truth and the way and the story of love
Your word is more than just breath into dust; it’s your Son, as a man, come to dwell here with us
Chorus.

Words & Music: ©2017 Liv Chapman, Alanna Glover & Philip Percival


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 44

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 44

Chapter 27 – Of the Sacraments
I. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him: as also to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.
II. There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.
III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that does administer it, but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorising the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.
IV. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord: neither or which may be dispensed by any but a minister of the Word, lawfully ordained.
V. The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New.



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The Story of Martin Luther (A Playmobil Animation)

This charming Playmobil animation by Go Chatter Videos tells the story of Martin Luther.
Watch is a primer for Reformation Sunday tomorrow.