April 16 Fervent Prayer

16 Apr

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Photo by Emmanuel Carizzo

Joshua 13:1-14:15;  Luke 18:1-17;  Psalm 85:1-13;  Proverbs 13:7-8

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God or cared about men.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 

 

“For some time he refused.  But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!”  Luke 18:1-5

 

“If I have not the patience of my

Savior with souls who grow

slowly;

if I know little of travail (a sharp

and painful thing) till Christ be

fully formed in them,

then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

 

~Amy Carmichael

Lord God, you did not give up on me.  You heard the prayers of those who faithfully brought my name before your throne of Grace asking that I might know your Love.  Thank you for hearing their fervent prayers and for answering them!  Now, Lord, help me to not grow weary in my praying for those who need to know your love and grace and mercy.  For we who have eyes to see the wonders of Salvation must intercede for those who don’t.  May our knees bear the weight of Calvary Love, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

April 15 Separated

15 Apr

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Image by creative monster

Joshua 11:1-12:224;  Luke 17:11-37; Psalm 84:1-12;  Proverbs 13:5-6

“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”  Luke 11:33

“If I refuse to be a corn of wheat that

falls into the ground and dies

(“is separated from all in which it lived before”)

then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

~Amy Carmichael

Lord God, dying to one’s self is so hard.  I don’t want to give up my agenda, my rights, my loyalties, preferences, prejudices, comfort zones….Forgive me O Lord for holding on to self.  Keep before my eyes the Cross and the price paid for my peace of mind, for my forgiven sins, for my eternal inheritance. By your grace and mercy let me be willing to die each day–to be able to rise and bear much fruit for the Kingdom.  For Jesus’ sake, who is Calvary Love, Amen.

April 14 Suspicions

14 Apr

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Image by Wagner Daniel

Joshua 9:3-10:43;  Luke 16:19-17:10;  Psalm 83:1-18;  Proverbs 13:4

“If your brother sins, rebuke him,

and if he repents,

forgive him.

If he sins against you

seven times in a day,

and seven times

comes back to you,

and says,

‘I repent,’

forgive him.”

Luke 17:3-4

 

“IF I cast up a confessed,

repented,

and forsaken sin

against another,

and allow my

remembrance of

that sin to color

my thinking and

feed my suspicions,

then I know nothing of

Calvary love.”

~Amy Carmichael, Missionary

Lord God, during this Holy week when we remember Christ’s passion, help us to forgive even as you have forgiven us.  That Christ’s death on the Cross be not in vain.  Increase our faith so that we can forgive those who seem impossible to forgive.  Help us to love with abandon, with no thought for the cost.  May we live in the light of Calvary love, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

April 12 Open Wide

12 Apr

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Image by Bigstockphoto/Wiz Data

Joshua 5:1-7:15;  Luke 15:1-32;  Psalm 81:1-16;  Proverbs 13:1

“You shall have no foreign god among you;  you shall not bow down to an alien god,

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.  Open wide your mouth and I

will fill it.”  Psalm 81:9-10

I read those verses this morning and have been thinking about them throughout the day.  The first image that came to my mind was of the baby cardinals that I was privileged to watch being fed by their parents.  Their mouths-open wide- were filled with the good things their mom and dad brought to them.  The babies grew quickly–a good indication that their food was ‘cardinal’ specific.  They didn’t have to do a thing but eat, sleep and grow.

Our spiritual mouths are open wide.  We want to be fed.  We want to be full. Our Heavenly Father feeds us with the Bread of Life–His Son Jesus Christ whose Body and Blood were broken for us,for our sin.

The table is set.  We are invited.  The meal is prepared.

It’s faith specific nutrition just for us–complete with grace, love, forgiveness, peace.

This is the feast of victory for our God.

Alleluia!

Lord God,  You have nurtured my faith life through the preaching and teaching of the Good News.  You have fed me and strengthened me through the Lord’s Supper.  Thank you for feeding your people–sending food specific for our souls.  Bless our worship tomorrow as you continue to feed us with your life-giving Word.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

April 11 Need Reminding?

11 Apr

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Image by Derek Murphy

Joshua 3:1-4:24;  Luke 14:7-35;  Psalm 80:1019;  Proverbs 12:27-28

“On the tenth day of the first month, the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal.  And Joshua set up at Gilgal twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.  He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendents ask their fathers ‘what do these stones mean?’ tell them:  ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over.  The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.  He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so you might always fear the Lord your God.”  Joshua 4:19-24

 

Twelve stones

from the Jordan

stood complete,

rolled from the

dry river bed.

Each one declared

God’s power to save.

 

Stone reminders

answer to prayer

‘Lord how are we to get

from here to there?

How do we get to

the Promised Land?

 

Christ on the Cross,

picture complete

of sin nailed,

hands and feet

blood poured down.

He emptied himself

as our iniquities filled

him with dark, deep

despair.

 

Bread and wine

reminders

fill us

each time we partake

of the Lord’s Body

and Blood

in remembrance of Him.

Christ is the dry ground

we cross,

salvation holds back the

power of sin, death and

Satan

until we are safe on the

other side.

All glory to Him!

 

 

 

April 10 God’s Man, Moses

10 Apr

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Image by Jaret Benson

Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24;  Luke 13:22-14:6;  Psalm 79:1-13;  Proverbs 12:26

God’s man, Moses

chosen at birth

plucked from the river

raised in splendor

a mere man

who took injustice

into his own hands

made a mess

and had to flee

falling from grace

to tend sheep.

Not forgotten,

God’s man, Moses,

 a future assignment

came from a burning bush

the word of deliverance

‘Go and set my people free.’

Back to Egypt

a mere man

through whom

the power and majesty

of God flowed

to turn the tide of

Israel’s suffering.

God’s man, Moses

led and interceded

for a stiff-necked people

forty desert years,

mouthpiece of the Almighty

he shaped a nation,

according to God’s Word.

Humble and obedient

he met with God face to face

and lived.

Moses, mere man,

dishonored his Lord

before all God’s people.

‘No promised land for you.

You can see it,

but do not touch.

Your job is done,

I’m calling you home.’

 

“And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said.  He buried him in Moab…but to this day no one knows where his grave is.  Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak, nor his strength gone.”  Deuteronomy 34:5-7

Lord God, Moses, mere man, was used mightily by you to accomplish your purpose, to deliver a captive people.  Moses foreshadowed the future Savior of the world–you Son who was more than a mere man–who was completely obedient and humble–who turned neither to the left or to the right, but went straight to the Cross.  Jesus saw the Promised Land and entered in.  Through faith, we who believe, though mere men, can also enter into the Land to dwell eternally with you.  Thank you for Moses, true servant.  Thank you for Jesus, the greatest servant of all.  Thank you for your Promised Land!  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“Then we your people,

the sheep of your pasture,

will praise you forever;

from generation to generation

we will recount your praise!”

Psalm 79:13

 

April 9 Freed Up

9 Apr

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Photo by Matt Gruber

Deuteronomy 33:1-29;  Luke 13:1-21;  Psalm 78:65-72;  Proverbs 12:25

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”  Proverbs 12:25

“On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  When Jesus saw her he called her forward and said to her, “Woman you are now free from your infirmity.”  Then he put his hands on her and immediately she straightened up and praised God.”  Luke 10:13

 

A word

A touch

so simple,

so profound.

The power of God

straightened a crooked back

and freed a tortured soul.

Praise poured forth,

and eyes found

the One who changed her life

now free to look up,

look ahead.

 

That’s the power of Jesus to change a life.

 

When He calls you forward–

Go

and He will lift you up,

because He once was lifted up

on the Cross

where mind-and-body-contorting

sin met its end.

Lord God, what a beautiful thing you did for the woman bent over for nearly 20 years.  Thank you for blessing her with healing and freedom and faith.  Thank you for straightening us up through faith in your Son and what He did for us on the Cross.  For those weighed down by the anxieties of life, of sin, of guilt, may we speak the life-changing words of your Son–their sins were paid for–they’re free from guilt–they’re free to look up and live!  All praise to you, Almighty God and Father through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

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