Lord and Hearth
With the firelight dim
Flickering on the wall
Warm drinks rest
Close at hand
And we bow our heads
Sighing our peace
Whispering our joy
The pine-smell is still
More than just memory
The bits of paper
Are still underfoot
And washed dishes
Their scent of a feast
That was sweet because of all of us
Because we were together
And the Lord was among us
Though shadows lurk
Awaiting the new year
And the seasons
That will test us as we go
And we hold our fears
At bay this night
Can draw from us
Which is sweet for all of us
Because we are His forever
And the Lord will not forsake us
I cannot renounce all of my works because they are not all the same. The first of those books in which I have described Christian faith and life so simply that even my opponents have admitted that these works are useful — to renounce these writings would be unthinkable, for that would be to renounce accepted Christian truths.
The second group of my work is directed against the foul doctrine and evil living of the Popes, past and present.
Through the laws of the Pope and the doctrines of men, the consciences of the faithful have been miserably vexed and flayed. If I recant these books, I will do nothing but add strength to tyranny and open not just the windows but also the doors to this great ungodliness.
In the third group, I have written against private persons and individuals who uphold Roman tyranny and have attack my own efforts to encourage piety to Christ. I confess that I have written too harshly. I am but a man and I can err. Only let my errors be proven by Scripture, and I will revoke my work and throw my books into the fire.
Since Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain Reason — and not by Popes and Councils who have so often contradicted themselves — my conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot and I will not recant.
Here I stand.
I can do no other.
God help me.
–Adapted from the speech by Marting Luther in the movie, “Luther”.
I am absolutely opposed to the teaching in churches that even remotely hints that one can achieve God’s blessings or one’s on control to bring positive elements into one’s life through “speaking the Word.” This includes teachings that say a believer:
Speaks in tongues
Speaks “The Power”
Speaks domination over demons or the devil
Raises people from the dead
Blah blah blah.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN PERIOD THE END. God alone does all the good stuff (and runs the program for the bad stuff too, by the way) and he does NOT do so at the whim of his little children, especially those who have the gall to proclaim they have such direct access to him. It pleases the Holy One to decide for himself when and where and how he should act.
God is not a shop-online-blessing resource. We do not evoke, invoke, stir up or demand anything from him. There are too many churches out there, some stocked with good friends of mine, teaching that we need the “mustard seed of faith” so that we can heal others, clear out all the rough stuff in our lives like death, tooth decay, debt, crappy cars and bad mortgages and it’s all a bunch of pagan garbage. Go check out the new age (rhymes with sewage) section of your local bookstore and see if you can find something there that looks familiar.
If that’s not you, grab a Bible and take the Word literally. You should take your “claim-it” agenda seriously and “Claim” the scriptures. For starters, claim some of these and do something about it:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:8-10
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. –Romans 12:1-2
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. — Galatians 1:6-10