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Lowell Brueckner

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What Our Hands Have Handled, chapter four




Grandpa Doxtator, Bill,
Ethel, and children
Bill and Ethel Doxtator’s house, in a village 80 miles north of Milwaukee, was a demon’s paradise. Alcohol played a huge role in the fear and unhappiness, which reigned supreme day after miserable day. One can only imagine the terror that must have gripped the two children, Marvin and Marcella, as they watched their mother and father chasing each other with knives.

As can be surmised easily, the children did not escape the violence. They suffered severe beatings at the hands of their drunken dad. Often, there was not enough in the house to eat. For Ethel, it became more than she could bear. Her professed religion was powerless against the forces that governed their conduct and laid claim to their souls. The present was intolerable and – what promise was there of any change or hope for the future? It only offered more darkness and despair.

September 28 - October 4 Daily Meditations in the Psalms


September 28

Psalms 95:9-11

9.  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10.  Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11.  Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

     Many see His works, but do not know His ways. Israel spied the land, but did not enter. The knowledge they gained, only served to tempt, prove, and finally grieve God. The big step over the flooded Jordan was never taken. We face the same danger with our knowledge of holiness and revival. We need to open the door of our hearts unreservedly, in order that we might truly believe and enter in through faith.
     The Psalm is open-ended and leads us to Hebrews 4. There remains a rest for the people of God. He that enters His rest has ceased from his own works and the power of the word of God has become the ruling principle of his life. Prayer (see Hebrews 4:16) is the proof that we no longer look to our possibilities or ourselves, but to the throne of grace for mercy and help in time of need.

Awakening to Spiritual Reality


There is an idea these days that deceives a lot of Christians. More or less, this is what it has to say:  “It’s not so important that we know and understand a lot about the Bible. What is important is that we live it, because there are people, who study a lot, but don’t live it.” Of course, any faithful Bible expositor will teach that it is not enough to be a hearer of the Word, but also a doer. That is truth beyond question, but here is the problem. There are deceiving spirits that can take a portion of truth, but apply it incorrectly, adding a few examples to support their claims. In this case before us, they create an impression that one will be a better Christian, if he doesn’t study very much, and those who are diligent students, possibly are religious hypocrites.  The result is that they create a dangerous prejudice in the heart and mind against an intensive study of the Word and also against the person who is studious.

This mentality had been formed already in the 1980’s and Martyn Lloyd-Jones became aware of it. He was an old man, when he visited the United States for the last time and one of the final messages that he ever preached was against this error. He showed how Paul indoctrinated the Thessalonians, raw Gentiles and idolatrous pagans. He wrote of the “reception” (1:9) that they gave him, meaning their response to his presentation of the gospel. He had to begin by teaching them of the one true and living God and demanded that the repent of their idolatry… the worship of many gods. After that, he taught them concerning the person of God’s Son, Jesus. Because he was the Son, He was equal to the eternal God, but He was made flesh and lived among humanity. He spoke of His death and resurrection and also of His second coming from heaven to earth. He taught them of the wrath of God and coming eternal judgment. Oh yes, Paul’s converts were well informed about good theology; they knew and understood important doctrine (see  1 Thess.1:9-10).

The truth of the matter is that the person who gives himself to Bible study, but does not live accordingly, is an exception, not the rule. Likewise, the person who does not give himself to a serious study of the Scripture is an impoverished Christian, if he is a Christian at all. How can he know if the life that he lives is, according to the Bible, the Christian life, if he has not launched a serious study? I think, he really needs to examine himself to see if he is in the faith at all, because he has certainly been exposed to a monstrous lie.

Love that Covers Sins


I read in the news last weekend about Pope Francis. He confessed that the church has been obsessed with abortion, homosexual marriage and other moral issues. He is calling on his people to “heal wounds” and “warm hearts”. Putting aside the many difficulties that we have with doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church, because of its power and its millions of members worldwide, up until now, it has helped to stem the tide of legal abortions and gay matrimony. Those who are challenging the Bible and historic principles have won the battle already in the political world, but now are gaining rapidly in religious circles.

Some Protestant churches have fallen to the attack, even before the Catholic Church, but now we begin to hear evangelical leaders carried by the current of tolerance. Not long ago, I listened to an interview with the new leader of a well-known, conservative Christian organization. He said that the conservative Christian has a reputation for rigidity and hardness, so we need to reach a better understand of our opponents and have dialogue with them. He ascertained that we have to be more tolerant of those who are not in agreement with us. Because I work in Spanish circles, I am aware of some of the statements of world famous leaders among the Spanish-speaking people. One singer was interviewed on CNN and proclaimed that his concerts have adopted the purpose of bringing people together on common ground and that includes uniting Christians and Moslems. (There is a movement today among Arabic people called Crislam – a combination of Christianity and Islam.) Another singer in Spain preaches that since Christ was born, we no longer have to deal with the wrath of God, nor should we refer to it in our evangelistic efforts, but rather to the love of God.

What in the world is happening? The standards clearly set in the Bible do not change, but the teacher who interprets the Bible, I’m afraid, in these cases that I have referred to, is not the Holy Spirit, but a “spirit of tolerance”. This spirit is not holy and is actually preparing the world’s population for apostasy and the reign of anti-christ. But is it not true that we should present the love of God to the world? My friend, first we had better be sure that we have a clear understanding, as to what is the love of God! Please read the following article, in which I attempt to clarify the nature of God’s love and show that it is not the love that the world knows and understands. It is not human love, but actually something very distinct from it. It is a holy love that gives no place to sin. It is that love alone, which the Bible and the Holy Spirit teach us:   

What Our Hands Have Handled, chapter three


Jesus told His disciples, “Without Me you can do nothing.” Because they believed Him, they gave themselves to prayer. Prayer was and still is the backbone of any church or any ministry that can expect eternal results. It calls upon God to do what man cannot do. Prayer is the power generator behind everything that brings glory to God. Earthly success is not to be taken into consideration at all. It must be understood as plain Bible teaching that His house is to known among all nations as the house of prayer. Only that which is birthed in prayer will walk on streets of good.


From the First Day Your Words Were Heard

A few people from the "String Band" and the Quinney group, 1936
     Erwin Brueckner glanced down at his patent leather shoes, and then stepped back for a better view of his 10-piece orchestra. On each of the ten stands before him was a gold-and-blue banner, denoting The Brueckner Melody Kings. Each musician facing him was wearing a black tux. He raised his wand, just as the curtain began to lift. In those days, stage curtains rolled up. Tragically, Erwin’s swallowtail coat got caught in the rising curtain and before the stagehand noticed the dilemma, my dad was hanging between heaven and earth. An outside curtain was down, fortunately, so he was spared the embarrassment of dangling helplessly before the audience. Still, much damage had been done to the pride and morale of the orchestra and they could not recover from that horrendous start. After a dubious performance, they left the theater by a side entrance to avoid encounter with their listeners.

Prayer Answered with Crosses


I wonder what would happen, if someone would come forward in a meeting to give a testimony similar to the one we have posted below, only, of course, using modern terms. The person would get a favorable response at the beginning, making the following statement:  I hoped that in some favored hour at once He’d answer my request, and by His love’s constraining power, subdue my sins and give me rest.”  But I can imagine puzzled looks on faces as the testimony continued, “Instead of this He made me feel the hidden evils of my heart, and let the angry powers of Hell assault my soul in every part. Yea more… With His own hand He seemed intent to aggravate my woe, crossed all the fair designs I schemed, cast out my feelings, laid me low.”  It doesn’t seem too far-fetched to me for a leader to kindly pull this one aside and say, “Please take a seat until you have a more positive testimony to share. Here we preach that God alleviates our afflictions, not that He aggravates them.” I am certain that few… if even one… would be able to comprehend such words.
Please read "We Have an Altar" and
identification with the cross.

I know better than to relate some of my experiences publicly or even in private with the majority of Christians, leaders included. They would probably listen politely, but I think that I would be able to read their thoughts: “What kind of Christianity do we have here? This guy would do well to attend a conference on victorious living, or maybe see a Christian counseling expert with a degree in psychology.”

I have read enough biographies of people used of God, to know the serious difficulties that bombarded their souls.  However, they are not too different from those that David expressed in his Psalms, certainly Job in his book, and Paul, writing of his thorn in the flesh, as well as other trials. It is the price that someone had to pay to be able to write such a hymn as “Amazing Grace”. That’s right, the following poem was another work of John Newton, written at a time of unbelievable difficulty in his life.

September 21 - 27 Daily Meditations in the Psalms


September 21

Psalms 93:1-4

1.  The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
2.  Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
3.  The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
4.  The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

     The Lord has girded Himself. John the Baptist was not worthy to unloose His shoe locket, though he was the greatest of prophets. He said, “I should be baptized of Thee.” His greatness stemmed from his proximity to the Lord Jesus and was dependent upon Him. Peter fell to his knees and cried, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, oh Lord.” Who is worthy to gird the Lord? He, in His singular majesty and sovereign rule, must draw from His own omnipotence. There is none beside Him, no helper, no counselor, no equal, who can lend or contribute to His all-sufficiency.
     His throne was already established before time began. Nothing threatens or influences it from the past, present or future. He is infinitely mightier than any would-be challenger. Though floods arise and carry everything in their path, covering land, tree and hilltop, they will not touch the Lord’s position. He is not even dampened by the spray. He is uniquely unassailable in His person and reign.

What Our Hands Have Handled, chapter two


“Use your abilities for Christ!” That’s a popular challenge, especially to new Christians, in our times. As I mull over it, it leaves the distinct flavor of humanism in my soul. The spirit of this age glorifies man and his abilities and the same spirit has entered the church full-force.

The New Testament truth is that God neither needs you or your abilities. In fact, God doesn’t need anything; He is totally self-sufficient, but because He is also generous, He gives us the privilege of participating in His purposes. However, in order to do this, we must receive His ability… and His “power is perfected in weakness”. That was Paul’s theology and he was willing to sacrifice his strength, “so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Co.12:9). Brothers and sisters, could we please get back to New Testament thinking and faith? What follows is the story of a simple man, clothed with God’s strength…


Witnessing with the Holy Ghost from Heaven

Alice & Erwin Brueckner
     With some people, salvation is a radical experience. Christ invades their life with such power and reality that returning to their former life is unthinkable. He banishes the darkness and thrills their souls. Erwin Brueckner had such an experience. He came into the kingdom of God with his whole heart and all the energy he possessed.

     The new life was fresh and alive. He carried a running conversation with the Lord. He talked and God answered. At times, he thought he heard angels singing and would join the song. The location did not seem to matter. God was as real on the sidewalk of the downtown district of North Milwaukee, as He was in the private prayer room.

     Erwin gave all that he had and wanted all that God had. Two weeks after his conversion, a visiting minister in his church, L. H. Ziemer, a Lutheran pastor from Pennsylvania, preached a stirring sermon on the necessity of being filled with the Holy Spirit. He invited the spiritually hungry and thirsty to come for prayer to a side room off the main auditorium. Erwin was holding his oldest son, Erv Jr., but that did not detain him. He set the boy on the seat next to him and told him to await his return. He was the first to his feet and, for a moment, no one else moved. Then as he walked down the aisle, he raised his arm to heaven and those who watched later declared that his hand turned in a rather peculiar manner, as if he were beckoning the congregation to come. Many then responded. Erwin took it as a sign that he had a call to invite others to experience the presence of the Lord.

September 14 - 20 Daily Meditations in the Psalms


September 14

Psalms 90:9-17

9.  For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10.  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11.  Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12.  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
13.  Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
14.  O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15.  Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
16.  Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
17.  And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

     As the Israelites, who were destined to wander forty years in the wilderness, so the tale of our life was told before the foundation of the world. In spite of that fate, Moses was satisfied to live in the presence of God. “If You go not with us, then we will not go up,” he said years before. His presence makes the wilderness to bloom and Moses and his followers could rejoice and be glad all their days. We need to apply our hearts to wisdom and spend each day in the fullness of His will. Man is foolish to rebel against his Creator. Do Your work and show Your glory, oh Lord. Though our geographical position does not improve, let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. He is all we need anywhere. May our lives count for eternity, as Moses’ did, though he died in the wilderness.

"What Our Hands Have Handled", chapter one


“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was brooding over the surface of the waters.” God begins His mighty works with less than nothing. He takes disorder and darkness and moves in love to create that, which will bring glory to His name. So He does in individual human lives, moving sovereignly, where there seems to be no potential for anything positive, nothing moving in His direction.

Among our relatives, He started with one 30-year-old man, who worked in his father’s tavern and played his violin in his dance hall. This is the story of my father’s conversion and how He then cracked the hard heart of my grandfather. Read and marvel at the powerful invasion of God in human affairs…



Grandpa Was a Bartender

     Otto Brueckner, along with his parents, eight brothers and a sister, immigrated to America from Germany a few years before the turn of the 20th century. He was 16-years-old. It must have been shortly thereafter that he found a job at the Fuller Warren Stove Company in Milwaukee, for he was employed in the factory almost forty years. He worked his way up the ladder and became one of the foremen. Fuller Warren was hit by the depression in the early 1930’s and went out of business. Otto, along with millions of others across America, found himself unemployed. Otto Brueckner was my grandfather.

September 7 - 13 Daily Meditations in the Psalms


September 7

Psalms 88:13-18

13.  But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.
14.  LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?
15.  I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.
16.  Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.
17.  They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
18.  Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.

     More than once, we find this question in the Psalms: “Why hidest Thou Thy face from me?” Has it ever been answered? The Christian life is not a mind game or an escape from reality. We pray because we are faced with matters of life and death, eternal loss and gain and titanic strength against disheartening weakness. There is no pleasure in being an abomination to friends and to have eyes weary with mourning. However, when we are separated from all else, He becomes our only source and early “in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee” (come to meet you).
     This is a song of the cross. Every child of God will sing this song at one time or another. It is a song of weakness, a song of abandonment, a song of death. Jesus Himself sang it. However, resurrection springs out of this song. We are brought low that He might arise and be exalted in us.

Are You Afraid to Judge?


I wrote the following article while we lived in the USA sometime between 1979 and 1986. A church published it and it was distributed in our area; afterwards it was published in ten languages in “The Herald of His Coming”, a Christian newspaper, of which you may have heard.  Because my brother asked for some copies, I had to look for the article. I hadn’t seen it for quite a few years. But now, I was surprised, as I read it again and thought about things that I have observed since then, that confirm 100% what I had written. I don’t have to change a single word to apply it perfectly to the situation in 2013.

Are You Afraid to Judge?

The lesson that Jesus gave us about the log and the speck in the eye (Mt.7:3) is, for most of us, at least, almost as familiar as John 3:16 or the Golden Rule. Often it is quoted, not only in church services, but many a conversation or heated discussion is brought to a screeching halt by the reprimand… “Don’t judge!” Nevertheless, in the same way that a pleasant melody can be distorted by too much amplification, likewise over-emphasis of the most certain truth can weaken it and deafen the listener to a proper balance of biblical doctrine. 

  If the quantity of teaching over a theme could guarantee its effectiveness, the effort against judging should have totally eliminated its practice among God’s people. By now, believers should be living in perfect harmony. However, facts show the complete opposite is true. Controversy and division prevails, and what is more important still, we have learned to drop our defenses. We have opened a door towards tolerance to sin and a lowering of standards, to general worldliness in the church, and to a multitude of false teachers carrying explosive and seductive doctrines. Should we conclude that something is wrong? I believe that we have not taught “the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27) with the faithfulness that godly people did in the past. The average modern Christian is not aware of the whole truth about spiritual judgment.

  You and I will have to isolate ourselves from the modes of the day and the common attitudes, and get in contact with the Author of unalterable truth, God’s Holy Spirit, in order to perceive the original intention of Scripture. With His unction and direction, the whole tenor of Bible teaching, from Genesis to Revelation, has to be explored. Each extraordinary text must be examined within its context.