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Martin Luther

By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

Martin Luther was born in Germany on November 10, 1483. As an adult, Luther became a monk, a man dedicated to the service and study of God. He studied the Bible every day in Latin and subjected himself to punishments when he thought he wasn’t doing well enough. He believed that he could earn his way to heaven by doing good works and tearing himself down.

After many years of legalistic thinking, Luther finally began to understand that he had done it wrong. God wanted his heart, not just his words and actions. In a flash of realization, Luther decided that everyone in the church, not just those who could read the Bible, needed to hear the message of the true grace of God. As Martin Luther’s knowledge grew, he began to notice church practices that directly contradicted the teachings of the Bible. So he set out to fix the problems he saw.

The story is told that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a poster to the church door of Wittenberg that listed the 95 problems he had with church tradition. These problems included theological ones (like works above faith), as well as malpractice from clergymen (such as taking money from people, promising them that their gift assured that their loved ones would go to heaven). He knew these things were wrong and should be stopped, so he made a bold move and announced to everyone how destructive they really were.

As a consequence, the church kicked him out and would not let his books be published. They eventually brought him to stand trial for blasphemy at a city named Worms. He bravely said that he could only follow his conscience and God – and if the church came into conflict with the Bible, the church must be at fault. He eventually was freed, however, and he continued writing pamphlets, books, and sermons until the day he died.

We remember Martin Luther today because he, like William Tyndale and many others, was courageous enough to see that, no matter the consequences, he must be truthful and follow his conscience. Neither the church, nor any other establishment, could quiet his voice. He spoke up at his trial, because he knew what he was saying was true, and that the flame of truth, even if he went to prison, could not be extinguished.

Watch a trailer from the Torchlighters DVD, The Martin Luther Story,
Find instructions for making a Luther rose coaster here.


Martin Luther and Singing in Church

Martin Luther wrote many hymns. One of his most well-known hymns is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

The story below is from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book, available at VOMBooks.com.

Martin Luther believed that only God’s Word deserved more praise than beautiful music. “The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music,” Martin said.

As a boy, Martin loved music and learned to play the lute. When he was a teenager, he made money going from house to house and serenading people.

Before his time, there was no congregational singing in church. Martin changed that. He also encouraged the people to sing in their own language rather than in Latin, as was the custom. His changes were considered to be very bold actions.

What Do You Think?
What do you think? Do you like singing along with a group in church, or would you rather that a few people did all the singing?

Martin made big changes in the way music was used in church services. If you could change something about the music in your church services, what would it be?

Martin believed that music is a gift from God and a way to teach His truth. What are your three favorite Christian hymns or songs? What is at least one truth each song teaches?

What do you think is the purpose of songs that are not Christian songs? Do you think it’s beneficial for Christians to play, sing, or listen to songs that don’t teach Christian truths? Why or why not?


Message from a Christian in a Muslim Country

Iran

Brother X is a Christian who works in a Middle Eastern country where preaching the gospel is against the law. He was asked, “How do you feel knowing that people are praying for you?”

Brother X answered, “Living in a place that forbids Christian worship, or even discussion of the gospel, can be very frustrating. The most important thing to me is knowing that even though I may be alone physically, I am not alone spiritually!

“Each day as I face new challenges, I can be sure that my Christian brothers and sisters around the world are standing with me in prayer. As we face new and growing persecution, we can stand firm in our faith when we remember those who are cheering us on.

“Being far away from this country does not stop you from changing the nation. From where you are, you can be part of the most exciting missions work in history through your prayers. I invite you to become part of the greatest adventure in the history of man: bringing the gospel to unreached nations.”

(Source: Christians in Crisis)


IDOP Will Be on November 3rd

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) will be observed on November 3rd this year. You can make plans now to join other Christians across the country in praying for persecuted Christians.

How can you prepare?

*Let your parents, teacher, or children’s/youth pastor know about IDOP, and ask if you can help them prepare to observe it with your class or group.

*Make a list of five to 10 countries where Christians are persecuted. Enter the name of each country in the Search box on this site to find information about some of the struggles faced by Christians in those countries. Or, make a list of persecuted Christians from stories on this site or on prisoneralert.com. List two or three prayer points for each country or Christian.

*Plan to start praying about the prayer points on November 3rd and to continue praying after IDOP. Read below about a way that one family prays for persecuted Christians.

Tamara S. commented on VOM’s Facebook page about how her family prays for persecuted Christians at mealtime: “We have Popsicle sticks in a vase with the names of hostile and restricted nations on them, and some of them have names of imprisoned [Christians] on them,” she said. “We try to draw one every meal at which we sit down together.”

*Tell an adult about IDOP resources for adults available here. Teachers and parents can also find lesson plans for children and youth in the Downloads section of this site.


Treasure Chest Prayer Box

This year, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will be observed on November 3rd. IDOP encourages us to pray for persecuted Christians around the world, not just on November 3rd, but throughout the year.

You can make a treasure chest prayer box to help you begin a habit of prayer for persecuted Christians.

 

1. Buy or make a prayer box. (See the suggestion in the photo.)
2. Add handmade items or small items you have purchased that can help you remember specific needs of persecuted Christians.
3. Find scripture verses that relate to the items and to Christians in countries where their faith puts them at risk.
4. Use the items and verses to compose a prayer for the Christians. (Examples of items and verses, and three prayer examples, are below.)
5. Choose an item each day to guide you in your prayers.
6. As you hear stories about persecuted Christians during the next year, add new items to the box that relate to their stories.

Shield
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped. — Psalm 28:7
Heavenly Father, please protect and guard Christians who are in danger today. Thank you for helping them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Crown
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12
Dear God, Please help Christians in [name of a country where Christians are persecuted] stay strong in their faith and take comfort in your eternal promises. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bible (God’s Word)
And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness…. — Acts 4:29
Dear God, Thank you for Christians who speak your word boldly. Let them continue to have courage, even when they are threatened. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sword
Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication, To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…. — Ephesians 6:17-18

Tissue (to dry tears)
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! — Psalm 126:5

Bandage
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. — Psalm 147:3

Music Note
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. — Psalm 42:8

Light
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me. — Psalm 43:3

Cross
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 1:18

Heart
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. — Proverbs 3:5