Archives 2022

Archives 2022 (104)


Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is John 8:12, where the Bible says,
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."


Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 1:20-23, where the Bible says,
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Romans 13:11-12 where the Bible says,   

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.


Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible verses are Matthew 3:1-2    

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

A blessed “12 days of Christmas/New Year” to you all. Christmas spills over to the New Year for those of us who believe and it compels even our resolutions for the New Year. So, may you strive for purpose in an increasingly purposeless world. May you yearn for eternal things in a world set on things that do not last. And may your relationship to God and to those whom you love increase and grow this year abundantly!

Several years ago, there was a PEW research study that reported sobering results concerning the sources of peoples’ happiness. The study showed that people think they can have happiness, even joy from money, jobs, or career devoid of family, EVEN FAITH. It seems that more and more Americans are listing things other than religion and/or faith as keys to happiness and fulfillment in life. (See for the study). And, I think that “spirit” is only increasing in this highly secularizing time in our history. Faith, and the blessings of faith, are ridiculed in our culture. Morals and virtues are scoffed at and dismissed as merely remnants of an era that deserves to “pass away.” Authentic expressions of faith are virtually absent in our culture whether in the news, in media, or in entertainment. We live in a culture that rarely references the unique significance or distinctiveness of the Bible’s message or the Judeo/Christian worldview, even during the Christmas or Easter holidays. Today, it is rarely noted that people actually, yes actually, go to a Christian church on these days. If you were to watch our movies, read our newspapers, or attend our plays and concerts during these times, you are likely to leave such activities without knowing anything about the real message of these “holy”-days and why they have been so impactful in this culture down through the years. Though many still profess faith in God, our culture has decided that such things are publicly meaningless or even publicly detrimental, reserved for private opinion if at all.

But this isn’t a devotion; it’s a Friday reflection piece. This isn’t an evangelistic call to learning the art of dialoguing with the challenges of modern culture in sharing the Gospel (that goes without saying). This is an advent/Christmas/NEW YEAR’S wake-up call that there are movements in our culture that would happily silence the moral teachings of the Bible, even the Bible’s “Good News” of the Gospel itself. There are principalities and powers that would like to silence the message of the God’s Law and Gospel so that no one can hear of God’s love and grace (Revelation 12; Ephe. 6:10-20).

In fact, there is an increasingly brazen tendency for Christians to be prevented from sharing the moral truths of the Bible, even the true meaning of Christmas or Easter publicly today. Whether it’s the lawsuits of the not-to-distant past, be they “Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc. v. Comer,” or “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission,” or “Obergefell,” or “Bostock, or “The Equality Act” or “The Defense of Marriage Act,” et. al, each demonstrate a litigating (not dialoguing) hostility to the message of the Bible and the Christian Church, especially if it publicly practiced. And (even during the holy days of the year), with a virtual “message blackout” at best in our media and education, or a caricature of the message at worst, one rarely gets to understand message of the Bible on its terms and its fundamental relationship to the notions of liberty, virtue, even happiness, whether temporal or eternal. When the distinctiveness of God’s moral ordering of the world, and even the proclamation of God’s good news of grace is lost, when even Christmas-Epiphany (Yes, the 12 days of Christmas END in January, not on December 25) becomes just another thing “we do,” it stands to reason that many would begin to look for other keys to happiness in life.

Christians know that God engages the world, sinful as it is, to preserve it and to save it as only He can. In fact, Christians know that even religion (our best efforts) itself won’t save us in the end. Rather, this world’s only hope is God’s engagement of the world, preserving it and calling it to repentance through His Law, and saving it through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus ALONE. So, to be faithful to God’s preserving and saving work, we must differentiate them. When the “Herod’s of the world” respond to the things of God by abusing their calling (Herod literally killed all children under the age of two as his bloody, power-controlling response to the news of Christ’s birth), we have the responsibility of speaking God’s moral truth to our leaders and our culture as part of God’s preserving work. (In America, we can even put such abuses of power back in their place because of God’s gift of citizenship under the Constitution.). When our culture dismisses the moral truths of God or even denies the created beauty of male/female in “His image,” we can raise our voice in His name for the sake of all. And thankfully, in a country that honors religious liberty, we can assert our rights and protections to fulfill our responsibility of sharing the whole counsel of God with all who will hear without threats of violence or coercion to the contrary. “2 Kingdom” citizens know that we have the responsibility of participating in God’s “2 Kingdom” works of preserving the world so that all might hear of His saving work for all. Why? Because we know that our best efforts (religious and non), even when they result in money, fame, power, or prestige, are faulty foundations for purpose and joy, and, truthfully, they are in adequate “keys for happiness” compared to God’s preserving and saving work for all, present temptations to the contrary.

This NEW YEAR, the LCRL commits itself anew to protecting the Christian Church’s constitutional right to proclaim “the whole counsel of God in the Scriptures” publicly. We are committed also to helping the Church take up its charge to be engaged in the issues of the day for the sake of the culture and for its ultimate purpose of proclaiming the Gospel. For, if the tension of “Church and State,” or the underlying tensions between “Money and Faith as keys to life,” are suddenly gone— becoming merely “State, relationships, and money – devoid of faith” as the trend the research suggests— the freedoms and opportunities that undergird so much of the goodness of this life won’t be far behind.

During these 12 days of Christmas (Dec. 25-Jan.5), we are reminded that the message about Jesus that we so cherish, the one that gives such meaning to life, is increasingly becoming lost in the ever-present-noise of modern life. While protecting our public voice is essential, speaking and living that good news for others is finally what life is all about (PEW or no PEW). A blessed “12 days of Christmas” New Year to you all!

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.

Be Informed

The American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten recently lambasted conservative views on transgender ideology. “They spent $50 million against trans kids in this last election,” she said. “How dare they? . . . So what’s dangerous is their rhetoric. What is demonic is their rhetoric.” Learn more about her controversial statement here.



Be Equipped

Read more about global abortion promotion and the government’s role in an Issues, Etc. podcast with Elyssa Koren of Alliance Defending Freedom International.



Be Encouraged

“These two choices are vastly different: to give birth to a child or to abort it. But one thing is the same: to choose Jesus is to choose life. For Jesus holds every life—even the tiniest—in the nail-scarred palm of His hand.” -Rev. Gary Blobaum, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oregon, Illinois, Lutherans for Life


It’s still the Christmas season, so if you’re behind in your gift giving you can help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith by giving a donation in your friend or family member’s name! Click here to learn more or to donate.


A blessed Christmas to all of you “for Today (many years ago) in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:11-12).” The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus came as a blessing to the world even though the world didn’t deserve it and even worse, was unreceptive to receiving Him as the gift that He was for them (see John 1:10-13). Increasingly, the world in which we live today seems very unreceptive to that same Gospel, a message that has been such a blessing to the world for over 2 millennia. Instead of receiving the good news of Jesus like Mary and Joseph, the Wisemen, or the Shepherds, the world in which we live is violently suspicious of the message of the Messiah like Herod in Matthew 2. In a speech several years ago, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito warned our nation, saying,

In certain quarters, religious liberty has fast become a disfavored right,” Alito said. “For many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom. It’s often just an excuse for bigotry and it can’t be tolerated even when there’s no evidence that anybody has been harmed.[1]

Later in the speech citing COVID-19,state overreach, he was even more concerned when he said,

The resulting (state) restrictions “blatantly discriminated against houses of worship,” Alito said Thursday, adding that he believed religious liberty is in danger of becoming a “second-class right.”[2]

Supreme Court Justices like Alito are now in the cross-hairs of persecution and intimidation. How did the constitutionally protected, cherished right of religious liberty and religious assembly become anathema in the culture in which we live? That discussion is for another paper. What remains vital today is first, our awareness of the fact that religious liberty, especially the liberty to believe and teach the whole counsel of God faithfully according to the Bible, that right is under direct assault. Much like Herod’s overt violence against the Christ child that first Christmas (See again Matthew 2:13-18), there are many today who would joyfully welcome the silencing of the Christmas message and the Church that is dedicated to proclaiming that message for all to hear. Like Joseph who gallantly protected Jesus and Mary that first Christmas, we as believers should also put to use our God given freedoms to fight for our right to be the Church in this culture for the sake of the culture and the mission of the Church. But, even more importantly than that, the MAIN MESSAGE FOR THIS DAY, no matter what is happening in our world, is this: There is no Herod, no Caesar, no Pharaoh, no tyrant, no dictator, nor even a duly elected president, or elected official that can stop the persevering power and blessing of the message of Christmas of coming for you, for me, for all.

Today’s the day to rejoice in the fact that God’s love keeps coming no matter the time, no matter the place. God’s love for you comes no matter the struggles in your life or in your family. God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness keeps coming no matter the foolishness or the bravado of the culture in which we live. Today’s a day to rejoice with those first shepherds on Christmas day. Today’s the day to remember my favorite Bible verse from Romans 8:31-38.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?....

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Merry Christmas! And may the certainty of God’s love for you in Jesus Christ give you strength, comfort, and confidence this day to face whatever comes tomorrow. For, nothing can overpower the persevering power and blessing of Christmas IN CHRIST FOR YOU!

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.

Be Informed

Parents, we’re talking to you! “Some states are working to prevent children from being exposed to harmful sexual content at an early age. But other states not only permit it; they are using public funds to import gender-bending sexual performers into classrooms. Parents must stay vigilant.” Click here to learn more.

Be Equipped

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute explains a recent press story on Catholic views on abortion.


Be Encouraged

“There is no more clear-pointed, rest-giving demonstration of the love of God for you than the gift of His Son.” --Paul Tripp, pastor, author, and conference speaker


Can’t decide what to get your family for Christmas this year? There’s still time! Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith by giving a donation in their name.  Click here to learn more or to donate.




I'm not sure where it came from, this fear of what is often called the Law's third use. But woe to the preacher who offers a word of exhortation, to run the race, fight the fight, wait on the Lord, well, just about anything. Right away we hear, "Of course, we cannot run, fight, or wait, for we

are sinners." For that matter, we cannot even repent, for, we are told, God repents us.

Now, in this protest, there is a kernel of truth. We do the good that God has called us to do, and surely we stumble, fall, and rebel. We do the good that God has called us to do, and, in the end, we see it was God's doing all along. But still, in Christ, we are a new creation. The sinner remains. Original sin remains. To grow in Christ means to come to grips all the more with that sin that lurks in every fiber. And yet, we exhort one another to good works, to run, to fight, to wait, to show mercy, to help our neighbor, and, yes, to go to church.

Now, we may say that the Law always condemns, and this is true, but it does not only condemn. Exhortation actually is invigorating. St. Paul includes so much of it in his letters, and likewise, or we should say, primarily, so does our Lord. Watch, He says. Work while it is still day before the night comes and no man can work, He says. Now, we might point out that the first disciples fell asleep in the garden, and we may recall Peter's denial. But then we should also think of Peter's heroic sermon at Pentecost and that he eventually fulfilled his promise to go to prison, even death, for the Lord.

Yes, exhortation is invigorating, for it is an invitation into the life of Christ. It is the general's call to would be soldiers, who are grateful to play a part, ever so small, in the great cosmic drama of salvation. Exhortation is the natural call of the preacher to people redeemed. Exhortation is to say that your life matters, and that what you do, yes, what you do, matters.

All that we do, we well know, comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. And we know that our every good work is tainted by sin. And yet, think of all those Christians who have answered the call in your life, and in the life of the church militant. Think of martyrs and faithful witnesses. Think of loved ones who brought you into the Truth. The saints are for us witnesses, examples of lives well lived.

So, when the preacher says, "Fight the good fight," do not go into the corner and sit. Don't think it too burdensome, nor think of yourself, by virtue of your sin or weakness, incapable. Get out into the ring. Enter the arena of life, as our Lord has blessed you. And when you do, thank God that you have been given the opportunity, knowing that at life's end, you will not have wanted it any other way.

The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Be Informed

Alliance Defending Freedom recently took on and won an important case. “Religious organizations like Wyoming Rescue Mission are free to hire those who share their beliefs without being threatened by the government.” We give thanks for that!

Be Equipped

Understand the why behind Mormonism’s endorsement of a bill protecting same-sex marriage with Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry.

Be Encouraged

“Regardless of the challenges, God has a perfect plan for each life that He brings into the world,

and His will for them is to out-sparkle and out-shine any ornament.” --Bradley Mattes, president of Life Issues Institute

Can’t decide what to get your husband or wife for Christmas this year? Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith by giving a donation in their name! Click here to learn more or to donate.

You may have heard that the Supreme Court sided with the football coach who lost his job for praying on the field.  What you may not have heard is that, in doing so, the court overturned a restrictive ruling on church/state relations from two decades ago and created new standards for religious liberty cases.

The case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, involved a football coach in Washington State, Joseph Kennedy, who had the personal custom of going to the middle of the field and praying after each game.  Some players and other students, of their own volition, would join him.  The school board believed this constituted an establishment of religion and refused to renew his contract.

Lower courts agreed that the coach was violating the Establishment Clause, but the Supreme Court ruled otherwise by a 6-3 vote.  Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion, said that the school board action “rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech.”  On the contrary, the government should not “be hostile” to religion.

The bottom line, according to the Wikipedia article on the ruling, is that the government “may not suppress an individual from engaging in personal religious observance.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Dr. Gene Edward Veith is the author of some 20 books regarding Christianity and culture.

Be Informed

Learn more about children and the Respect for Marriage Act with Katy Faust of Them Before Us.


Be Equipped

Did you know that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has chosen 37 congregations to receive grants during Phase 1 of the 1 John 3 Initiative Million Dollar Life Match? The program, which offers a total of $1 million in matching grants, supports LCMS congregations in providing beginning-of-life care in their local communities. Learn more here.


Be Encouraged

“As sure as Christmas will come again on December 25, our Lord will come again. As we look forward to the Last Day, let’s dress for the occasion, putting on godliness and repentance. Let’s celebrate everything He did the first time He came to assure us of our home of righteousness. Let’s be spiritually awake and alert for His coming again, knowing that we will enjoy God’s perfect paradise, our eternal home.” --Rev. Peter Sulzle, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls, Minnesota


Can’t decide what to get your pastor for Christmas this year? Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith by giving a donation in his name! Click here to learn more or to donate.


Two years of lockdown and quarantine disruptions to most American children’s learning led to historic declines in student achievement in 2022. Test scores are easier to measure than other, possibly more important, ways lockdowns harmed children. Teachers are reporting that traits such as emotional resilience, relationship skills and self-control also have taken a serious hit.

Children are more anxious, less secure and more disorganized and unruly post-lockdown, according to teachers and mental health surveys. So teachers, counselors, principals and other school leaders are urgently seeking ways to help. One popular strategy, especially in secular schooling, is called “social and emotional learning,” or SEL. (It’s also sometimes called “socioemotional learning.”)



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible reading is Philippians 4:4-6 where the Apostle Paul says,

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Colossians 1:17-20 where the Bible says this of Jesus Christ:    

17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Whereas it is the duty Thanksgiving Proclamationof all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

“George Washington issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789, designating Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks. In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government.” Read more here.

Common sense is no longer common. Such a thing is often said, but is it true, and if so, why? In Orwell's 1984, we are told that two plus two makes four, and that all else follows. Deny reality at your soul's peril and your body's as well. So, we must say that she is a he or they, or else. Why does the state demand such obedience? For if we are willing to say that he is a she or a they, then we belong not to ourselves but to them, not to God, but to them.

It's worth noting that in our circles we seem to have a difficulty with exhortation and wisdom. Saying it's just common sense, nothing special, nothing to do with the Gospel. But when we speak or whisper words of wisdom what we are doing is confessing the truth of the created order, confessing the God who created us through eternal Wisdom, that is His only begotten Son.

In general, the church should stay out of politics.  But sometimes politics is foisted upon the church.

That’s the gist of an article in First Things by Ben C. Dunson, visiting professor of New Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, entitled Should Pastors Be Political? 

If you want justice, speak like a prophet against the secular elite who dominate our culture, those who promote death and the abolition of man. If you want justice, now is the time to speak against abortion, now when it's all on the table, and we can actually pass laws to save lives. This is our holocaust, and it, if justice warriors care as they claim, disproportionately affects people of color, and it does so by design


Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is 2nd Thessalonians 2:14-15 where the Apostle Paul writes,    

14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible reading is Revelation 7:9–12 where the Apostle John recounts this vision of heaven:    

9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is John 8:31-36.     

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is 2nd Timothy 4:7, where St. Paul declares,      

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Luke 18:1-8 which says,    

And [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”


James Madison wrote about the uniqueness of the American government and its inspiration from the Reformation in a letter to Rev. Schaeffer, Dec. 3, 1821, saying:

It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.[1]





Thus, God has a spiritual rule in the hearts and lives of Christians; He also has a secular rule that extends throughout His creation and in every culture. God reigns in the Church through the Gospel, the proclamation of forgiveness in the Cross of Jesus Christ, a message which kindles faith and an inward transformation in the believer. He reigns in the world through His Law, which calls human societies to justice and righteousness.[1]


[1] Gene Edward Veith Jr., “Two Kingdoms under One King: Toward a Lutheran Approach to Culture,” in Christ and Culture in Dialogue, ed. Angus J.L. Menuge (St. Louis: Concordia Academic Press, 1999), 137. See Schumacher, “Civic Participation,” 165–66, where he adds another dynamic insight with regard to God’s Two-Kingdom reign in the world. Because of this view of “two, differentiated realms,” God’s involvement in His world is through two different kinds of righteousness. “The passive righteousness of faith depends entirely on the person and work of Christ; this alone establishes and determines our identity and righteousness before God. On the other hand, and at the same time, our righteousness in the world (coram hominibus) is active and not passive; it depends on the activities by which we fulfill our vocation and serve our neighbor. Luther’s right understanding of justification involved the insight that our own activity and works have no place in deciding our standing before God. Similarly, the preaching of the Gospel does not govern nations, feed children, build houses, punish criminals, etc. Both kinds of righteousness are God’s will, and both kinds are necessary for us to live in the world as fully human creatures restored in Christ.” For the purposes of this paper humankind’s depraved anthropology must be understood in the promotion of the potential, active, civic righteousness of public society in which God still somehow rules and creates humane society despite our sinfulness.


The mother and child communion. Nothing on earth is quite like it. Conception marks the beginning of life, but until a child's birth, the rest of us are outsiders. A mother becomes a mother long before the child's birth. She feels it in her bones. The mother gives life sustaining nourishment to the newborn, but this nourishment begins from a child's conception. Don't ever say that a preborn child is simply a clump of cells. Mom knows better, for that child is within her in a kind of earthly communion of love.


Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 17:11-19 which Jesus says,    

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[a] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”



Differentiating God’s preserving from His saving work has practical implications for cultural engagement. The state is a temporal agency, dealing with temporal solutions to temporal issues. The Church is an eternal institution, dealing with eternal solutions to eternal questions. The state can compel its citizens to do what is demanded; the church can only persuade, not coerce. 



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 17:1-4 which Jesus says,    

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b] Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”


WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, September 26, 2022

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Psalm 146:1-6 and 10, which proclaims:     

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;….. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!


WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, September 19, 2022

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Luke 16:10-13 where Jesus says,    

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”


WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, September 12, 2022

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Luke 15:8-10 where Jesus says,    

“What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”



Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Luke 14:34-35 where Jesus says,    

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”



Christian engagement in the political realm asserts that Government has a vital but secondary or penultimate purpose which both supports the family and allows the Church to accomplish its work.[1]

 [1] Article #8 from “Articles of 2KG public engagement,” produced by the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.


Your kids leave home: become Woke, march in the Pride Parade, fly the rainbow flag. What to do? Well, be prepared to welcome home all prodigals, but don't rush the process. And whatever you do, don't fall away from the faith to stay close to those who have left it. In doing so, you endanger your soul, but theirs as well.


Indiana has passed a law that does much to restrict abortion, though it is far, far from perfect. Admittedly, I do not have a real grasp on whether the new legislation is decidedly good, a step in the right direction, or something else.


The differentiation, yet honoring of the legal, public authority of the Church from the State can be persuasively argued to have been a creation of the Christian Western worldview.[1] The notion of the “two established sovereigns” in culture, historically transformed the concept of citizenship from the notion of a person being a “subject” of a regime who is granted rights, to one where people are free, public agents with unalienable rights, privileges, and responsibilities before the law. The proper differentiation of the realms of the church and the state, rooted in a 2KG understanding of God’s work in human history, has had real, historical implications for people of all faith perspectives even today.


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