Dear friends in Christ: I hope you can sense the excitement. We are getting closer to celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in October! 500 years ago God used a humble German monk, named Martin Luther to restore the message of the Gospel, that we are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone. The Reformation is ongoing and still important as we focus on the confession of faith that Luther stood for and which we still stand by today. We can be inspired by how God worked through the life of Luther and the many stories that still live on today. Like the story told about when Luther came down with a bad case of kidney stones in 1537, while attending a meeting of the Schmalkaldic League. The court doctors gave him up for as good as dead after the stones had blocked him up for a week. His body was badly bloated and discolored. Did Luther lose his humor? Not at all, because he knew Jesus Christ was His Lord and Savior, and he had built his life on that rock. So with his good friend and colleague Philip Melanchthon weeping at his side for fear of his eminent death, Luther recalled that St. Stephen had been killed by being stoned on the outside, and that he, Luther was being stoned from the inside! But the stones did finally pass, and he fooled the doctors by living another 9 years by the grace of God. Like Luther, we build our lives on the rock, Jesus Christ. So that when the storms of life hit, and they will hit; we are able to stand by God’s grace and maybe even keep our humor in tough times. From Psalm 46 we hear the encouraging words, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of trouble.” These words inspired Martin Luther to compose the beloved hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” As we look forward to singing this hymn during our upcoming month of reformation reflections, may God give us strength to face whatever challenges that life brings, knowing He is our mighty fortress!

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