I am excited this morning because I have been studying Martin Luther and his “95 Theses.” We serve a God who has all things planned out and there is no way we will ever comprehend it while we are here on earth. I am sure that Luther is shaking his head in awe as he sits in the heavenlies. I know I am. I have come to love history and I love looking back to see how God puts all the pages together in an orderly fashion.
This past week I was thinking about Martin Luther and how he nailed his “note” on the church door. Well, that was really all I knew about him. I knew it was an important note and that he was a vessel that helped make changes in the way the church was “thinking” about salvation. He was a leader in the period known as the ” Great Reformation.” So, I started a drawing of the note on the door. I often like to include little details about myself in the drawings and in this one the cross is made up of two pencils. The door is wood and the note is nailed to the door with a big spike. Jesus is on the cross and the crown of thorns is around the whole thing. It’s an interesting drawing.
Ok, now this gets interesting, so I hope you have your cup full of coffee because I just love to tell you how GREAT our GOD is! This isn’t earth shattering or shaking, rather, it is a minute detail in the life of one person, a detail that is unimportant to the rest of the world, but so very important to this person! A detail that says, ” yes, you heard Me!” God speaks to us in all sorts of ways and we should never ever discount that fact. If we aren’t hearing Him, we need to step back, reflect, study the Word, pray, be still and listen. Gather your prayer warriors around your feet and PRAY together! I am here to tell you that we serve a MIGHTY GOD who is the author and illustrator of ALL the details!!!!
So, I started to read about Martin Luther and what I found out was quite amazing to me! God is IN EVERY LITTLE THING!!!
Martin Luther was born as ” Hans Luder” in 1483. At age 34 He was an Augustinian monk in Germany. At the time the Pope was ” selling salvation.” He was selling salvation in return for a hefty fee. Some might say it was a gift to the church, but Martin Luther thought differently. Martin Luther took the TRUTH of the Word of God and wrote it on a piece of paper ( several) and nailed it to the door of the church. He was challenging the Pope to the TRUTH of God. Martin Luther taught that salvation is a free gift of God, not earned by good works or “gifts” to the church. Martin Luther studied the book of Romans and this led him to believe that salvation came by faith alone, by the belief that Christ died on the cross to save us. Not something that we can buy. So, you could say that the Great Reformation came about by one mans belief IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS. This belief has affected the entire WORLD and still is today. Martin Luther stood on the Holy ground of the Word of GOD. The bible. He took a bold stand to challenge the POPE! And challenge he did. Martin Luther’s zest for the Truth changed history and lives forever. Mine and yours!
This is the second drawing, after studying Luther’s life.
At the time, bibles were hard to come by and they were expensive. In 1455 the Gutenberg bible was printed on the first printing press. There were only 180 of these bibles produced. Today there are only 48 known Gutenberg bibles left in the world. Handwritten bibles took a scribe a year to produce and were quite expensive. At the time it cost a clerk 3 years wages to buy a bible, so needless to say, not many people could afford bibles. So what they heard about the Word of God came solely from the pulpit, from the POPE, who was selling salvation. God placed a desire in Martin Luther for everyone to have access to the truth of the Word of God. From 1522-1534 Martin Luther translated the bible into common language and this bible was called the ” Luther bible.”
So, how did Luther spread the Word of God if bibles were so expensive? Well, this is the fun part! He used the printing presses of Lucas Cranach. Who was Lucas Cranach? He was a German artist! Of course! Lucas Cranach was an artist who did woodcuts of the Virgin Mary and painted images of Madonna’s, martyrdoms and the passion of Christ. He illustrated the thoughts of the reformers… thoughts on the trinity, sin,divine grace, Adam and Eve, John the Baptist, Satan, the Resurrection, etc.. Do you see how I can relate to this guy?
Luther printed simple pamplets, with imagery, to share the word of God with everyone. Oh how I would love to own one of these pamplets today, to touch the paper and smell the ink of Martin Luther’s convictions and faith in God. WoW! It makes my heart go pitter patter a little faster. To be bold like Martin Luther is my prayer for myself. Luther was quite successful in his attempt to reach the laity with these simple pamplets, and the printing press, immensely helped to change the world’s religious views by making God’s word available to ALL! In 1518 there were 87 printings! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was considering it took a half day to set up the presses for one page. That took 25 workers! In 1523 that number increased to 390!
Today we have keyboards, computers, the internet and laser printers that print at the speed of light. It would make Lucas Cranach and Martin Luther’s head spin! I am sure that they are looking down cheering us on now as we use these devices to spread the Word of God! I think a Blackberry would really blow him away, don’t you? I mean, think about it…it’s not the Blackberry that is important, it’s WHAT you do with it! Are we using our cellular devices to spread the Word of God? If you have a Blackberry or like to text, I challenge you today to use it to spread the Word of God! Make God and Martin Luther smile!
There is a bible study on Romans that I wanted to take, but because of other commitments I wasn’t able to sign up for it. My schedule recently changed, opening up time for me to take the bible study. The group has already started and I was invited to join them anyway. So I picked up my study guide and when I opened it up I went, ” WOW!” Here is what it says: ” On October 31, 1517, an obscure Augustinian monk and teacher of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, in Germany, nailed a sheet of paper onto the church door at Wittenburg. …………….This monk, Martin Luther, was incensed by the actions of Pope Leo X…….” A coincidence? I think NOT! I don’t believe in coincidences! This is a God ordained study that I am to take. God has plans for me to learn something about Martin Luther and about the book of Romans.
So far I have learned that Paul, the writer of Romans, was determined to do everything he could to teach people about Jesus Christ, even if that meant being in chains, beaten, and tortured. I think Martin Luther heard that call loud and clear. The question is, do I? The study guide says that Paul was a pioneer at heart, that he liked the thrill and adventure of plowing new ground for the faith. I think Martin Luther did too! God put a fire and a passion in the heart of Paul and Martin Luther to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, not just where they were, but the world over. They were men who were committed to sharing the Good News. They shared a common goal…that EVERYONE has the CHANCE to BELIEVE in the LORD JESUS! If we don’t go and teach, how will they know? Like God told Paul, he tells us, to take courage! ( Acts 23: 11)
Let me ask YOU a question…
Does it matter to YOU if everyone has a chance to believe?
I am talking EVERYONE! God doesn’t want one person left out, He wants the entire human race to be able to make the choice to know Him on a personal level and it is up to us, who know Him, to share Him. That means sharing with the grocery clerk, with the little boy next door, the guy who walks down the street in a daze, the hunched over man who works at the corner lot, the kid who serves you at the drive thru window at Burger King, the woman that no one sees who lives in the house on the corner all alone. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS IMPORTANT TO GOD and TOGETHER we CAN DO IT!
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Who are YOU going to bring the GOOD NEWS to today?
I am touched by God’s presence and His voice and it is my heart’s desire to be an obedient servant of Christ, to serve and not be served.
Thank you Lord Jesus for waking me up!