Assembling a wheel barrel.

 

Put part A into slot B. Take bolts F and insert through holes P and Q and securing nuts J and K.

A great many read the Bible and use God’s law to attempt to build their lives in that fashion.

 

Let’s listen a bit to Pastor Mark as he explains why this is not necessary, or desirable (worse than that, it can actually cut one off from Christ!):

 mp3 > what-the-law-intends-1

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

And thanks to Erin Aguiar, for the photo op.

 

 

 

 

‘The Endless Round of Resolutions’

 

  

 

 ‘The Endless Round of Resolutions’

By Pastor Mark Anderson  

Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA

With the new year comes the time for resolutions. As we look back over the year that was, most of us can identify aspects of our lives that could use some improvement or adjustment, at the very least. What strikes me about this annual exercise is that it never ends.  Still, making New Years’ resolutions can at least give one a sense of hope, if nothing else.  I would like to hope, as each year rolls around, that some prospect exists for a remediation of life; lose weight, be more efficient in use of time, “smell the roses” a bit more often, and so forth. There is something going on here that cuts deeply into the reality of life in God’s world, life lived under the demands of God’s law.

Theologian Gerhard Forde once wrote,

For it is the supernatural pretension of law, its
unbreakable absoluteness that makes it
unbearable and drives man in his endless quest
to be rid of it.”

The simple reason we never seem to arrive at the fulfillment of our lives (thus, the return to annual resolutions) is because the expectations of fulfillment are always one step ahead of us. The law is always ahead of us.  Again, Forde writes;

Law does two things to us, come
what may. It sets limits to sinful and destructive
behavior, usually by some sort of persuasion or
coercion -ultimately by death itself; and it accuses of
sin. That is simply what it does. We have no choice in
the matter.”

Under these circumstances, our failure to keep the demands of our resolutions (read, ‘repentance’) must lead us to either laugh or cry. The law offers no compassion.

So, you see, the apparently innocuous annual new year’s resolution is actually a window into the reality of the human condition before God. We are bound to law in all it’s forms and it’s absolute demands. And all of them are summed up in the greatest of all commandments;

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.”

How about that for a New Year’s resolution!

If the law is always ahead of us with it’s endless demands, Christ Jesus is even further ahead with His cross and forgiveness. This is what the Bible means when it declares, “Christ is the end of the law.”
We cannot bring and end to the law.  Only Christ is the end of the law for faith.

If the endless failures of your life’s resolutions are getting to you, they are supposed to!… in order that you might see your need for Jesus, who brings an end to the law, it’s demands and accusations.

So, as 2012 begins, make all the resolutions you want! (Personally, I’m going for weight loss.)  Just remember that your life is already fulfilled in Jesus.  

Without Him we have nothing. With Him we have it all!

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                                 Grace to you,

                                                   Pastor Mark                                                    

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

And thanks to flickr and ifeelstock (calender), and also michaelrparker (scale).

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Jesus was born under the law

And we are born under the law, as well.

We know how being born under the law played out in Jesus’ life. But what about us? Did Jesus teach us how to manage the law that we might be able to do what the law demands?

A great many voices in churches think so.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

click here to see what Lutherans think about it > Jesus was born under the law…we are born under the law

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Sermon for the 1st Sunday after Christmas, Jan.1, 2012

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Thanks, Pastor Mark.

Thanks to flickr and micahchristensen, for the photo.

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It just never ends

10 Commandments by imkukie

I visit many Christian blog sites during the course of a week, and it never ceases to amaze me how many are telling us ‘just what to do’ in order to be a better Christian. (with all the best of intentions)

Here’s my advice for all those that are trying to help us by feeding us that poison, which is the law (what we do):

Please, just worry about yourself. Stop inflicting the law upon the rest of us, so that we might rise to the level of obedience that you are at. Reading and listening to these folks is akin to going in for a root canal.

All of you who have been freed from the Christian religious project, know what I mean.

Why do I go these sites then?  Good question. Sometimes I ask myself the same thing. I guess I go back now and then to try and put a good word in for Christ Jesus and His forgiveness and love for sinners.

And then the biblicists start raining on the parade by plucking out law passages here and there that they hope will trump the gospel.

Sorry to burst your stone tablet law fest, but it works the other way around. The gospel ALWAYS trumps your self-improvement plan.

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Thanks to flickr and imkukie, for the photo. 

>>>

Are you really gonna tame this beast?

Vicious Dog by Simma_Down_Na!!

Here’s Luther’s commentary on Gal. 3:19

VERSE 19. It was added because of transgressions.

.

In other words, that transgressions might be recognized as such and thus increased. When sin, death, and the wrath of God are revealed to a person by the Law, he grows impatient, complains against God, and rebels. Before that he was a very holy man; he worshipped and praised God; he bowed his knees before God and gave thanks, like the Pharisee. But now that sin and death are revealed to him by the Law he wishes there were no God. The Law inspires hatred of God. Thus sin is not only revealed by the Law; sin is actually increased and magnified by the Law.

The Law is a mirror to show a person what he is like, a sinner who is guilty of death, and worthy of everlasting punishment. What is this bruising and beating by the hand of the Law to accomplish? This, that we may find the way to grace. The Law is an usher to lead the way to grace. God is the God of the humble, the miserable, the afflicted. It is His nature to exalt the humble, to comfort the sorrowing, to heal the broken-hearted, to justify the sinners, and to save the condemned. The fatuous idea that a person can be holy by himself denies God the pleasure of saving sinners. God must therefore first take the sledge-hammer of the Law in His fists and smash the beast of self-righteousness and its brood of self-confidence, self-wisdom, self-righteousness, and self-help. When the conscience has been thoroughly frightened by the Law it welcomes the Gospel of grace with its message of a Savior who came into the world, not to break the bruised reed, nor to quench the smoking flax, but to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, and to grant forgiveness of sins to all the captives.

Man’s folly, however, is so prodigious that instead of embracing the message of grace with its guarantee of the forgiveness of sin for Christ’s sake, man finds himself more laws to satisfy his conscience. “If I live,” says he, “I will mend my life. I will do this, I will do that.” Man, if you don’t do the very opposite, if you don’t send Moses with the Law back to Mount Sinai and take the hand of Christ, pierced for your sins, you will never be saved.

When the Law drives you to the point of despair, let it drive you a little farther, let it drive you straight into the arms of Jesus who says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

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Thank you, brother Martin.   Thank you, St. Paul.    Thank you, Lord Jesus.

 

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Thanks to flickr and Simma_Down_Na!!,  for the photo.

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Just a quick question…

Pride by Bryce Fields

 

…for all those Christians who are constantly prodding people to be better Christians by living up to God’s law (citing whatever law verses from the Bible they happen to be using that day – there’s plenty of them)…

anyway…

 

here’s the question…

‘How are you’ doing, when it comes to whatever it is you are telling people that they should be doing a better job of doing?’

 

Hmmm?

 

I’m not kidding.  I really want to know.  I want you to look honestly at yourself and answer that question.  

Go ahead, if you’ve got the guts to.

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Thanks to flickr and Bryce Fields for the photo.

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How the Law Trumps the Gospel