Why we love the Luther Rose

Any visitor to our website will soon see how much we love the Luther Rose. We have pendants, paintings, rings, greeting cards and other paraphernalia for purchase proudly displaying Luther's Seal. Here is what Dr. Martin Luther had to say about the rose:

Grace and peace from the Lord. 

As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. 

The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. "For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Romans 10:10).

Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17) but by faith in the crucified.

Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27).

That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed.

And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal.

This is my compendium theologiae. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation.

May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter.

Amen.

October 21, 2016 by Wanita Wood

Gonna find out who's naughty or nice

I recently saw a Christmas meme that got me thinking. It was a picture of Santa Claus in his sled with a big bag of presents, reindeer, bells, whistles and one simple word, “Believe.”

I do believe. I believe in the existence of St. Nicholas. He was a hero of the early church. He famously punched the heretic Arius at the Council of Nicaea for claiming that Christ was not equal to God the Father. I believe St. Nicholas would be quite horrified if he knew what was done in his name these days. He would point us to the true meaning of Christmas, and the real Gift to the world that we should all believe in.

This real gift is Jesus the Messiah. He was promised throughout the Old Testament, right from the very first chapters of Genesis, and in hundreds of prophecies describing in detail when He would be born, where He would be born, His specific bloodline (Seed of Judah, Shoot of Jesse, Son of David), His mother being a virgin, His hometown, John the Baptizer who would come before Him, the types of miracles He’d perform, His speaking in parables, His betrayal by a friend, His rejection by His people, His violent death, His means of burial and His resurrection from the dead.

The Old Testament is alive with whispers of Him, and hints about Him, types and shadows of who He will be. You see it on almost every page: Messiah is coming, believe in Him, He will do great things for His people. He will be a man like Adam, like Abel, like Seth, like Noah, like Melchizedek, like Abraham, like Isaac, like Joseph, like Moses, like Samuel, like David, like Solomon, like Daniel, like Jonah.

He will baptize us, as with Noah and the flood, as with Moses and the Red Sea, as with Elisha and Naaman the leper. But Christ’s baptism is a baptism into His death, and a raising into new life in Him. Something greater than Moses was here.

He will feed us: as with Melchizedek, Priest of the Most High God, who gave Abraham bread and wine, a shadow of the sacrament we feast on to this day. He was the Passover Lamb, whose blood protects us from the angel of death. He was the Manna in the desert that fed Moses and the fathers. He was the Rock that was struck which gave them life-giving water and saved them from dying. He is the one poured out for us all. His is the life that is in the blood. He, the serpent raised upon a stake, so that all who look to Him might be saved. He is the one cursed for us, who is hanged upon the tree. 

He will give us rest. In the Old Testament, this is foreshadowed as a Commandment: rest on the Sabbath Day. When Messiah comes, He rests for us, because even that, we cannot do ourselves. So we enter into His rest – His perfect rest, and we are granted that eternal rest in the bosom of God the Father. This rest does not just happen when we die, we enter that rest when we are granted faith in Christ. We are at peace because we are no longer burdened and heavy laden. The life we live, we live by faith in the finished work of Christ.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God has this to say,

“Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven… The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:11-14 ESV

Some people would have you think that this is speaking of a young woman giving birth, not a virgin, but why then would God describe it as a sign as high as heaven and as deep as Sheol? Young women give birth every day, but only once has a virgin given birth. The sign was seen in the heavens, pointing to the place where the Holy Baby lay. Sheol saw Him too, when He went to proclaim His triumph to the spirits in prison there.

Old Saint Nick is said to keep lists of those who are naughty and those who are nice, only bringing gifts to the nice ones. Well, I tell you, something greater than Santa was here: God tells us that we all stand condemned, each one of us is sinful and deserves nothing but His just and righteous condemnation. All are naughty, none is nice. God doesn’t hold back though, despite our sins, He sent a Gift to earth to reconcile us to Himself, to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.

Yes, Christ came to take that condemnation upon Himself, to carry our sins and burdens, to die in propitiation for the sins of the whole world – for whomever believes and is baptized. 

I believe. I believe in the true gift of Christmas and in all that He has done.

I pray that you will believe too.

October 29, 2015 by Wanita Wood

A letter to my daughter on her first job

Our darling girl

You may think your parents are very odd thinking it’s so important for you to get a part-time job this early in your life whilst still in high school. But, you must remember that we have been where you are now. Soon you will be leaving school and going off to university. We hope that this first job will help to instill the work ethic you will need to succeed in life.

Your dad may appear to have it easy now, but it was not always the case. At 13 he got his first vacation job selling newspaper subscriptions door-to-door. It was in a dangerous part of town, and work did not finish until after midnight. At 14 he had a summer job at a kennel that required cycling 24 miles each day, with a 7am start and a 5pm finish (including a half day on Chrismas). At 15 he started getting regular summer jobs with the Chamber of Mines. It was tedious clerical work, but it paid quite well and was available right through university. Eventually it provided a full-time opportunity after university, and remains a cornerstone of the work he does today.

During university, your Dad had three jobs. He would unpack Woolworths trucks from 4-8am six days a week, and often cycle to university on weekdays. After his studies he would go to the Chamber of Mines and put in a couple of hours if there was an opportunity. On Saturdays he would work all day at another Woolworths, helping man the tills, stock shelves, clean the shop, and do stock taking. It was very menial and unfulfilling work, but it provided discounted food and a reliable source of income that paid for a lot of things that would otherwise have been unavailable.

When we emigrated to the US, there were many nights when he worked right through at the rickety old desk we rescued from the dumpster near our apartment, writing stories for his publication to be ahead of its competitors.

I was fortunate enough to have my father pay for my studies, but I too worked while in high school and then at university. I have very fond memories of these first jobs, first at a clothing store for the modern teenager (the closest I ever got to being "hip"), then later at a bank as a teller. I also had to quickly learn the value of money when my parents divorced and I went from being a "rich kid" to a "poor kid" in just a couple of months.

These jobs taught us something. The world is divided into two sets of people: slackers and workers. My darling child, please don’t ever be a slacker. They are the ones for whom everything is just too much like hard work. They ensure that they manipulate the system so that they can take every break possible, use up as much sick leave as is allocated them, they generally gripe about every little chore, claim to never be paid enough, complain about how much better fellow employees have it, and make working unpleasant for anyone near them. 

They’ll watch the clock to see how soon they can get off work, they’ll pilfer whatever they can from the business. They’ll harbor a “the man owes me” type of attitude and agitate for any number of concessions. If they spent half as much time working instead of working at slacking, they would be remarkable employees. Slackers can come from any walk of life, their parents could be rich, so they think they are entitled. Alternatively, they could come from very lean circumstances and not have been taught the value and privilege that one has when one works. St. Paul describes this sort of person well in 2 Thess 3:10 as “walking in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.”

Workers on the other hand, intrinsically understand their vocation in the uniquely Lutheran sense of that word. They go the extra mile. They’ll see where they can contribute and make sure that they do. They’ll be happy to do what is needed while at work, and turn work into a kind of play – never even noticing they are laboring, because they understand it to be an honor.

Ability does not necessarily match productivity. We have know some incredibly gifted people who have squandered their God-given talents. We have also known some of apparent mediocre brain capacity who, through hard work and dedication have achieved way beyond what anyone would have believed possible. Stick-To-it-ness is a stronger indicator of success than talent.

To work is a great privilege; especially in this day and age when unemployment is high and there are way more people in the job market than there are jobs. Grab this opportunity with both hands my child. It does not matter how menial the work, there is great honor and dignity in having a job. It will give you a sense of self-worth that nothing else can.

The peddlers of welfare for all want one to believe that this is not the case. They want to create slackers of all of us. You see, as I mentioned before, slackers work hard at not working. So slackers make great voters. They like free things, they like being entitled, they want increased minimum wage but value minimum effort. Their expectations greatly outweigh their worth.

There are few things more rewarding than an honest day’s work. Remember that Adam was sent to work in the Garden even before the fall (Genesis 2:15), so work precedes the curse. After the fall, the Lord told Adam that he would eat bread by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3). So, work became harder with more obstacles, but is not a curse. Have you ever observed a man who has been retrenched or has had to retire? They are in many cases lost and depressed. They feel that they are no longer of value in society. A man gets his identity from the work he does.

Work grounds us, it gives us a reason to get up in the mornings. It teaches us the value of money – working turns us into mini economists, understanding the true meaning of opportunity cost - five hours of your labor could buy you a nice dress, or it could get you a fancy meal, or it could contribute to sending you to the university of your choice when that time comes. 

So, take this opportunity and run with it. Be a worker, not a slacker. Don’t ever think that any job is beneath you. There is as much honor in the vocation of a trash collector and there is in being a bank manager. St. Paul made this beautifully clear when he wrote:

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:22-24 ESV)

We pray that you will take these words to heart as you start this new chapter in your life. We are very proud of you. We also expect you to contribute to your university education so that you don’t accumulate too much debt, which will burden you for most of your adult life and when opportunity cost will revolve around the big things such as marriage and family.

All my love,

Mom

August 18, 2015 by Wanita Wood

Lost and Found in the City of God

At the local Starbucks a few months ago, in an effort to fit in, I said in my most American accent, “May I have a coffee, please.” The Barista’s response was, “Are you from Johannesburg?”

I realized then that I fitted out.

I am a stranger in a strange land. I’ve lived in the United States for 15 years, but I will always be an outsider. I do not get the humor, the sports, the customs, or the lack of cappuccino machines in every restaurant. I’ve come to terms with driving on the wrong side of the road, but I’ll never understand Imperial measurements. I love this country and this people dearly, yet I will always be foreign. Every time I open my mouth, someone asks me where I’m from. I don’t know the answer to that anymore. It’s not something I want. It just is. We do not share a common history. My schooling, family and worldview are all different, shaped by forces unknown and unknowable to any who do not share them.

If you think that’s bad. It’s worse when I go back “home” to South Africa. The only thing drawing me back is love of family. I could never return permanently. Can you imagine living without Amazon guaranteed two-day delivery! There, politics also would be a huge issue. South Africans have been so steeped in socialism; they do not even know what conservatism actually means. For them, a conservative is a Konservative – a racist, white socialist who hasn’t moved on from the Apartheid past.

So, my husband and I remain strangers in our country of origin as well as in the country we love. We have moved so often, our roots are too shallow to ever feel that something is permanent. We love Denver dearly, but were we to move from here, hardly anyone would notice our passage. A few friends at church might wonder, but we would be truly missed by none.

I long for a sense of belonging, a sense of family. I long to be missed by others. But, at the same time, I am too worn out to re-explain myself yet again. To drag up a past that with normal friendships would be a given – to explain why I am why I am, the pains and hurts, the successes and delights, the family structure and pecking order. All this. Just to be seen as I am.

Wanita! Why the pity party? You have a wonderful husband and three sweet, lovely children.

Good question, and thanks for the admonition. I'll tell you why. My daughter cried on Independence Day this year because we don’t have family to go to or invite for Holidays. In consoling her, I cried too.

But, I cannot leave it there. I have to take it back to my faith. Yes, I am a stranger, but there was One who was also a Stranger. He should not have been. He was of the Seed of David, of the Tribe of Judah. They knew Him: His roots and promise were rich and deep and stretched all the way back to the garden of Eden (Gen 3:15). Yet, this is what we read about Him. 

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13 ESV)

Here was One rejected and despised by people (Isaiah 53). Even His own family and the villagers He grew up with treated Him as a pariah (Mark 6). Such pain and sorrow He must have felt. You can get a sense of this in His lament,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV)

What were these people thinking?

They saw the miracles – the blind got sight, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, madmen were made sane. They heard the wisdom – give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself, a sparrow does not fall without your Father knowing of it. They experienced the wonders – water become wine, He walked on water, He fed thousands with just a smidgen of food, He raised the dead, He fulfilled all scripture.  Yet, they rejected the God of the universe and sentenced Him to death. He suffered not only physical anguish, but for that time of death, He was forsaken by God in order to fulfill the scriptures (Psalm 22, and Matt 27:46). He drank that bitter cup to the very dregs.

Oh, Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief, how can I worry about my own little problems when I see the rejection and pain You have been through? Yet, You concern yourself with my sorrows. You are the High Priest who was tempted just as we are, but You did not sin. You call me, one weary and heavy laden, you promise me an easy yoke and a light burden. You come to seek and save the lost. You are the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep. 

You are the One who calls on us to welcome the stranger. Oh, the irony, that One so rejected would call for the very thing that You never received. Blessed Stranger, we are strangers no more. You are our God and we are your people.

We remember our Father Abraham who was also a sojourner in a strange land. We too have a hope and a future and look to the city whose designer and builder is God in a kingdom not of this world.

And I know, from scripture and all that He has already brought me through, that this is indeed true.

July 05, 2015 by Wanita Wood

Condescend to Me

Are you feeling condescended to lately? You're not the only one. We have a government deciding to change society in ways not seen since the days of Noah. We have political groups decreeing what our children should learn, what they should eat, what they should believe. We have evolutionists treating Christians as fools for believing in a literal 6-day creation and a God who loves and is active in the world. We have rabid feminists condescending to humble housewives for their biblical but unfashionable view of marriage. Condescension by others is really irritating.

The Merriam-Webster describes condescension as

  1. voluntary descent from one's rank or dignity in relations with an inferior
  2. patronizing attitude or behavior

Condescension at the hands of our fellow human beings is virtually always the latter definition. We all do it at some point, even unwittingly, when we consider ourselves in some way superior to another human being and forget that we are dust and will return to dust. Yet, when God does it, it turns into something amazing.

Can you believe that God, the Creator of the Universe would condescend, would come down to earth, to commune with humans who hate him? It is a mind-boggling thought. That is exactly what He did.

It’s almost understandable His coming down and speaking with the pre-fallen Adam, when everything was clean and uncorrupted. He would visit with him in the cool of the day; they would walk together. I wonder what they discussed. Adam was perfect, so think Einstein on steroids. I imagine God explained things to him that we are only now beginning to comprehend. The Maker of Heaven and earth condescended to these perfect, sinless human beings. Yet, Satan beguiled Eve with a promise that eating of that fruit would make them like God, knowing good from evil. Knowing evil, indeed. What a vicious, cruel joke. Oh, what bitter, bitter fruit.  When the Lord came to confront them, He had a plan already, right there in the garden, to condescend fully and completely to His creation. Adam and Eve didn’t understand exactly what Satan promised. Yes, God revealed goodness through His creation and experienced evil through the rebellion of Satan and his angels. Eve ate of the fruit and internalized the evil of which she partook. Today, we too know that evil from the inside. We are born evil, in sin our mothers conceived us (see Psalm 51:5). As the Lord Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into a person that defiles them, it’s what comes out of them” (See Matt 15:11).

The disciples didn’t understand who Christ was, until after He had already ascended into Heaven and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). This wasn’t because of a lack of declarations by Christ about whom He was. He made plenty of those and demonstrated the truth of His claims through His actions and fulfillment of scripture. They were still blinded by visions of a worldly kingdom with material wealth and power. They had yet to discover that God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9), and that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

Christ told the Pharisees “Before Abraham was, I am.” He made numerous other “I am” statements throughout His time on earth, culminating in “I am He” which He made when they came to arrest him. Those simple words, uttered by the God of Heaven were enough to send grown men flat on their backs (See John 18:6). But He condescended to be handed over, to be scourged, mocked, despised, lifted up to draw us to Himself, murdered, taken down and placed in a newly hewn tomb. That was always His mission. The entirety of scripture is about that – the Seed of Woman being bruised by Satan in order to crush his head.

God’s plan of perfect condescension is reflected in Isaiah’s prophecy,

He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:8-9 ESV)

 

Thank you, dear Lord for condescending to us. Thank you for taking our sins and filth upon yourself, for carrying our burdens and restoring Your creation unto Yourself.

This Sunday, when we attend church and the Divine Service, our God will once again condescend to us. He will absolve us of our sins, and let us eat of the Tree of Life, His body and blood, given for our sins.

What glorious condescension.

July 03, 2015 by Wanita Wood

Self-Righteous Me and My Judging Judgments

I recently witnessed a debate that quickly ended up getting very nasty. One group of people called a certain sin, a sin. Another group were deeply offended and angry that anyone should judge them.

I sat on my lofty perch, and judged all concerned, the sin and the sinners, the accused and the accusers. It’s so easy to do, when that is not my particular brand of sin. Then I forced myself back to playing that oh-so-condemning Romans 2 game, which I wrote about here. Basically, it’s this: if I judge this particular sin, in what instances do I find myself committing it? It’s a broad-brush sin finder, so the classifications get widened to incorporate general categories of that sin instead of narrow issues.

Self-justification is a constant temptation. We are all too easily given to excusing our sin or putting lipstick on it, instead of acknowledging it and repenting of it. 

So, self-righteous me, who judges pornographers; do I watch unedifying movies? I, who judge adulterers, should I not take Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 to heart: that anyone who looks on another with lust has already committed adultery in their hearts? I, who get angry with my family, friends or strangers, should I not remember that such anger is murder in the eyes of the righteous God? I who judge those with habitual sins, should I not look at the specific sins I struggle with most in my life, and unpack those, to see how they torment and pursue me? This is why we do not judge: because in judging we condemn ourselves. These examples ought to lead me to have a repentant, empathetic heart, and to lament as St. Paul did, "Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24)

Martin Luther’s last words on this earth were purportedly, “We are all beggars,” and we are. We have nothing to boast of except the righteousness given us as a free gift. We have no business letting that righteousness make us feel superior in any way. In fact, it should humble us since it belongs to someone else - Christ. It is truly an alien righteousness given my and your natures, and completely unmerited.

This righteousness is found throughout scripture. We are told that Noah was a Preacher of Righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). We find Abraham being declared righteous, not because of any act of his, but because he believed God’s promises (Genesis 15:6). We find Lot being described as righteous, despite his numerous sins (2 Peter 2:7). David was called a man after God’s own heart. This was certainly not because he was sinless, he was an adulterer and a murderer! Yet, one of his most beautiful psalms is the one in which he repents of these sins, and finds himself forgiven and redeemed by our just and mighty God:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
(Psalm 51:10-17 ESV)

We must not be frightened of unpacking and confessing our sins. In fact, our Lord Jesus tells us to come to terms quickly with our accuser (Matt 5:26). The Lord is fully aware of our sinful condition, even more than we can ever be. We shouldn't be afraid of confessing and repenting, remember what the Lord promised us in Isaiah 1:18, though our sins be as scarlet, He will make them whiter than snow. There is joy and peace in confessing our sins and knowing we are washed clean by our Lord. There is torment in hiding from our sins and our refusal to acknowledge them. There is strife and ill will in thinking others are sinful and that we are not.

For me, the most wonderful part of my week is the beginning of our church service, which begins with corporate confession and absolution. The following comes from CPH’s Lutheran Service Book

Pastor: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Congregation: But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8–9
P: Let us then confess our sins to God our Father.
C: Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
P: Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the the Son and of the Holy Spirit. [John 20:19–23]
C: Amen.

 

This message of forgiveness is so clearly and easily available to us that we might be inclined to take it for granted – to sin much so that grace may abound. Let it not be so, especially when we think we have the moral high ground. Most of all, let us call sin sin, and then take it to the Lord since Christ died and rose again for the sake of casting our sin as far as the east is from the west. So we cling to His promise of salvation, forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ alone. 

© www.adcrucem.com

Dear Friends of Ad Crucem

This has been such an exciting year for us!  We launched Ad Crucem on Easter Friday - the dream of which has been so close to my heart for 14 years. 

In December 2000, our very first Christmas in the USA, we were feeling homesick for our extended family back in South Africa. My husband, Tim, decided that we should travel down to Washington to see our adopted nation’s capitol and then return via the Chesapeake Bay bridge.

We had never heard about Williamsburg. On the map, it just looked like a logical stopping point on our journey before we took the bridge on the way back home to New Jersey. Imagine our amazement as suddenly, without much warning, we went back in time to the Revolutionary War. It was a mind-blowing experience.  I remember so clearly being frightfully excited at entering the Christmas store there. Here was a store dedicated to Christmas goodies (something unknown in SA) - they were bound to have Christ-focused items for our tree. After scouring the store, my heart was broken - how could there be so many trinkets, but none with any religious significance? I vowed to Tim that day, if nobody had rectified this situation by the time we were in a position to, we would ensure, one day, that Christians could buy decent, Christ-focused Christmas products.

And so, 14 years on, the year of our 20th wedding anniversary, we decided to form Ad Crucem.  The scripture verse emblazoned on Ad Crucem's products is Romans 4:24-25 - Jesus our Lord was delivered for our trespasses and raised for our justification. We are firmly resolved to not waver from this central focus of our business. 


These are but small beginnings, I have many dreams and plans for Ad Crucem. I have so many ideas about products that I want to produce, and items I want tailored to our specific criteria - proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our justification.  

Thank you, dear friends, for having started on this journey with us this year. Your support, patronage and prayers for our success, have been greatly appreciated. I have made so many new, wonderful friends since forming the business - people who value our work and what we are trying to accomplish, and artists with the same vision and dream as ourselves. It has been a faith-fortifying experience, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve my neighbors in this way.  

As you start your Christmas shopping this year, please consider our wonderful products and gifted artists.  

Kelly Klages has done amazing work at creating unique, Christian themed ornaments. We have baptism remembrances for god-children, cute little churches, and a variety of crosses. Kelly has also created gorgeous, unique, Christian themed jewelry, which would make lovely gifts. 

Ad Crucem has created its first set of laser engraved wooden ornaments, which are very affordable and theologically sound.

We also have a wonderful selection of scripturally rich Christmas cards - there are almost 30 scriptures referenced in just 5 cards. You can minister to your family and friends through the scriptures found in our cards. We have also made two stunning pewter ornaments - one depicting the Christ Child with the Cross / Star shining above him, and the other, an ornament celebrating baptism.  We also offer beautiful burlap housewares, which will make great presents and also are wonderful for celebrating Thanksgiving. We have a small pewter nativity set and a number of pewter ornaments too.

Tanya Nevin has recently joined our team and has a hand painted Luther Rose, which would make a stunning Christmas gift. Fred Anchao has provided unique African art made from soapstone, and hand carved.  

If you are looking at blessing your church this year, Jonathan Mayer of Scapegoat Studio has incredible advent banners for churches and Pastor Wolfmueller’s certificates would be a wonderful way to do so. We are also very excited about the newest member of our team, Kelly Schumacher, of Agnus Dei Liturgical Arts, who will soon be on the website.

If you appreciate our work, we ask that you will tell others about Ad Crucem, and let your friends and family know about all the exciting items we have to offer.

We look forward to being of service to you.

Sincerely,

Wanita Wood

 

 



November 06, 2014 by Wanita Wood

A Tale of Two Babies

I recently read a heartbreaking story about a nurse in a maternity ward coming across a baby that was the victim of a botched homicide attempt. To make matters worse, the baby was tortured in the process thanks to having a saline solution injected into it with the expectation that it would take hours to die.

In America, we have euphemized this pre-meditated murder and call it “a women’s right to choose”.

The baby survived the initial trauma, but not for long. Fortunately, there was at least one person left with some compassion to take an interest in the baby before his final breath. The nurse said: “I did the only thing I could, I baptized him.”

How ironic and tragic that a trained medical professional could only deliver emergency care of a spiritual nature. Yet, I wonder, was there a granny praying somewhere for her little man, pleading that the Lord grant him life?

The writer went on to contrast this baby with one, but a few feet away, that was also struggling for its life: a wanted baby whom the doctors were striving to save. We can say with certainty that one of these babies lived that night.  Our nurse speaks of doing the only thing she could. The fact of the matter is, what she did for her young neighbor in that instant was administer the only salve he would ever need. It is the only life saving treatment either of those babies would ever need. Without that salve, the surviving baby might go on to live a long and satisfied life, only to die in its trespasses and sins, never having been granted eternal life. 

In those Words and that Application, she baptized him and God washed him clean of his Adamic sin. That little baby was granted eternal life in the Savior. There is no other name in Heaven or on earth by which one may be saved.

October 21, 2014 by Wanita Wood

Regrets, Guilt and Faith

If you are anything like me, you have a tendency to live a life of regrets. How often I wish I had said and done things differently. I second guess myself and beat myself up for not sharing the gospel just that little bit more. I regret not doing something for someone that could have resulted in their trusting more in Christ or in gaining more faith. I regret my good deed for my fellow Christian that remained in the inbox of That’s a Nice Idea, instead of ever reaching the filing cabinet of Done and Dusted. I regret the good work for my dear friend that now remains undone and undoable, because she has passed into eternity. I regret the times my life got in the way of my good intentions.

Boy, does Satan love that hotbed of righteous regret. He preys on us with our self-doubts and self-questioning. He torments us with what could have been, what should have been. He is the accuser of the brethren, and in this job, he has a great work ethic.  It's not just Satan either. There are people who actually make a career of manipulating Christians into giving and doing out of guilt and piety. 

These regrets used to be so overwhelming in my life. I would give without ceasing, and busy myself to a standstill in the good works department. Someone just had to mention a need, and I was there, trying to fulfill it, hoping that my good work would result in their praising God or in their gaining salvation.

All this focus on me took the focus off the real worker, the One who accomplished it all for us already. The One who, on the cross, in His final words declared, “It is finished.” The One who grants faith.

God uses me, surely, but I’m just a tiny cog in His massive machine, a miniscule thread in His magnificent tapestry. Only at the last day, will we be able to look back on our lives and see the good works we did for Him. Then it won’t matter anyhow, because all that does matter and will matter is His good work. I should rest in Ephesians 2:8-10: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Did you see that? We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for those good works. It is not my works that lead to others gaining salvation, it is God’s good work. He is the One orchestrating it all. If I fail in my efforts to do and give, God’s word will still accomplish that which it set out to do (See Isaiah 55). He will use other means to get His job done. I can rest in the fact that God has prepared my good works for me to do, before the foundation of the world. He is orchestrating everything that needs to be done to bring salvation to this dying world. He is the one who calls us out of darkness and into His glorious light. He is the one who grants faith and new life. We are dead until He grants us faith:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14 ESV)

Often, our regrets are a lack of faith in God and His work. We think we are more important than we really are. We are not His only instrument. If He wants something done, He will do it, regardless of the means He’ll use. We don’t need to second guess ourselves, or Him.

Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30). I think we are all secretly more enamored with a hard yoke and a heavy burden. We want to feel that we are working for our salvation, working for our justification, working for our sanctification. It is way more difficult to rest from our labors and trust in the finished work of Christ.

This doesn’t mean we don’t have good works to perform. God gives these to us as He sees fit, and according to His perfect timing. I love the story of Martha and Mary – the one working hard and complaining that her sister was just resting at the Master’s feet. Yet, look at the good work Mary performed, at the perfect time and according to God’s plan, she broke an alabaster jar of nard, and anointed the Savior for His death. He said of this good work that we would celebrate it wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the world, and we do. This was a good work coming out of her rest in Him, not out of her labor and works righteousness. Nothing we do would ever compare with such an honor, but the principle applies.

October 05, 2014 by Wanita Wood

Images of Comfort, Psalm 23

I recently did Psalm 23 in pictures, on the passing of a dear friend. 

The LORD

Is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

 

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,

For You are with me; 

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever