December 7

 

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.   Psalm 34:7

 

 

No Christians should think that they are alone when they are dying.  Instead, they should know that many eyes are on them.  First, if a person believes God’s words and clings to the sacraments, they know that God himself and Christ are present.  Second, angels, saints, and all Christians also are looking on.

If Christians can picture this and not doubt it, then they can die with confidence.  Whoever doubts this must not understand the sacrament of the body of Christ in which Communion, help, love, comfort, and support in times of need are pointed out, promised, and pledged.  For if you believe in the signs and words of God, then God keeps an eye on you.  As the Lord says in the Psalms, “I will council you and watch over you (Psalm 32:8).  If God looks upon you, then all of the angels, saints, and other beings will look in the same direction.  And if you remain in faith, they all hold you with their hands.  When your soul leaves your body, they will be there to receive it.  You will not perish.

This is confirmed by the story of Elisha and his servant when enemies surround them.  Elisha said, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  The servant could see no one else, but “then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:16-17).  Similarly, those who trust God also are surrounded, even though they can’t see it.  The words of Psalm 34:7 fit well here:  “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

 

Martin Luther: Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional

 

Edited by James C. Galvin

 

Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:

 

Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther

 

Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.

 

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