October has arrived as I see friends on Face Book in coats, I observe the Fall events being advertised in stores – Halloween candy tempts me everywhere!, and I remember key spiritual holidays – Reformation, All Saints Day, thanksgiving, and Christmas are coming! October is the month when we Lutherans celebrate Reformation, Oct. 31, 1517 when Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, GR. A whole rethinking of basic Christian tenants were thrown into public forums by the reformers and the invention of the printing press. Many of our modern beliefs are be traced back to that time in history. Are the presidential debates no different than Luther’s desire to engage “the system” in open discussion around basic tenants. Luther is famous because his points of discussion were not economy, foreign affairs, climate and health but were called the Four Solas ie the Four “Alones”. Faith should be based on Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone. These will be the themes for our four weeks of reflection this month.
What is the standard we gauge our beliefs by? If science says it is so, does that define reality? Global warming is claimed by many to be a scientific fact and hence the foundation for our environmental policy. Sola Scriptura, Scripture alone, became the cry of the reformation. Debates should not be based on “experts’” claims but must be based on accepted biblical writings. Thus today we will think about Romans 15:4,
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
I chose this verse because it ties together James’ encouragement that in the face of difficult times we count it joy because trials develop perseverance, steadfastness, and lead to maturity. Paul, in Romans, shares a similar idea. Scripture provides a foundation we can refer to that is consistent, reliable, and we believe inspired by God. Our tendency is to takes our woes to friends we know will agree with us but scripture claims a historical depth and consistency that draws us to God’s wisdom.. Scripture encourage us and give us hope. Certainly we need that today.
So what scriptures encourage you? Many love Psalm 23 that reminds us that “The Lord is my shepherd…” This month the Deaconesses are sharing confirmation and consecration verses that have encouraged us through our journey. One way to find a verse for the challenge of the moment is to use a concordance at the back of your Bible and look up a word e.g. fear, trust, love… Today it is possible with technology to go to a website like Biblegateway.com and just type in your word and they instantaneously pull up verses. I love Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear….” Scripture was written for our instruction, to develop steadfastness, and lead us to hope! May it form a solid foundation in your life and thinking.