Living For Christ

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good and perfect will.

* * * * *

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith that God has given you.

* * * * *

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.

* * * * *

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.

* * * * *

Do not repay evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:  “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

On the contrary:  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;  if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:1-3, 9-21

Lord God, by your divine grace and mercy we are different.  By faith we are your children and as your children you desire us to live according to your ways–not our’s, not the world’s.  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the pen of the apostle Paul you have made known the life you would have us to live.  It is the life Christ lived when he was on the earth.  Help us, Lord, to live according to your will and forgive us when we fail.  Thank you for your love and guidance in our lives!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We Are Limited, But He Is Not!

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments

and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,

or who has been his counselor?

Or who has given a gift to him

that he might be repaid?

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Romans 11:33-36

* * * * *

In the hubbub of the day

the rush of activities

or in the still of the night

when thoughts and fears

rush in and continue

to clamour

and keep us awake

take heart

and remember the God who loves us

more than we could ever know;

whose grace and mercy gathers us to himself

and by faith keeps us ever near.

Listen.

He whispers: ‘Fear not,

I have overcome the world…

and all those things you are worried about.

Lean on me.

I will not buckle under

your load of care.

My strength will be yours.

I will not let you fall.’

Lord God, even though we cannot understand your ways we trust you to know what is best for us and our loved ones, and that your love surrounds us day and night.  Thank and praise you for such undeserved favor.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we commend ourselves and all things to you this day.  In His name we pray, Amen.

Facing A Vast Army?

Image by Adrienne Olguin

Image by Adrienne Olguin

“Then Jehosophat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in front of the new courtyard and said:

‘O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in Heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.  O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?  They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.

* * * * *

But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them.  See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us an inheritance.  O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

2 Chronicles 20:6-13

Lord God, you knew of the “vast army” facing us –you knew its tactics, its strength, its means, its plans to destroy us.  And you sent us your Son to do battle for us.  By Jesus’ death on the cross he defeated forever Satan, sin and death’s grip on our lives.  Ours sins are forgiven.  We can use the name of Jesus to ward off Satan’s attacks.  We can look death in the eye and not fear.  Lord, there are other battles that we face day to day because we still are in the world and so we look to you today asking for your strength, your help, your deliverance and we give to you all glory and praise!  We pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen!

“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength;

we will sing and praise your might.”

Psalm 21:13

July 25 Look

Originally posted on What's The Good Word?:

Image Photo by Steve Jostes

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14;  Romans 9:1-21;  Psalm 19:1-14;  Proverbs 20:1

Look to God’s Creation

“The heavens declare the glory of God;  the skies proclaim the work of his hands… In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion.  It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other.  Nothing is hidden from its heat.”  Psalm 19:1-2, 5

Image Photo by Aaron Burden

Look to God’s Word

“The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is pure enduring forever.  The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.  They…

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Lots Of Groaning Going On

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits

of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for

our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

For in this is hope we were saved.

But hope that is seen is no hope at all.

Who hopes for what he already has?

But, if we hope for what we do not yet have,

we wait for it patiently.”

* * * * *

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us

in our weakness.

We do not know what we ought to pray for,

but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans

that words cannot express.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,

because the Spirit intercedes for the saints

in accordance to God’s will.”

Romans 8:22-27

Something isn’t right.  I sense something is out of balance and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Groan.

I know something is terribly wrong and I don’t know what to do.

Groan.

In either situation God knows and His Spirit groans with us to carry that burden to His throne of Grace.

Having trouble with finances?

Groan

Children?

Groan

Parents?

Groan

Health?

Groan

Work?

Groan

Studies?

Groan

Friends?

Groan

Temptations?

Groan

Persecution?

Groan

Ultimately, our dear Lord went through the same ups and downs of everyday living in this world. And he spent much time in prayer with the Father. He groaned in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemene.  He groaned on the Cross as His Father turned His back on His sin-ladened Son.  Deep anguished groans.

And now the Spirit groans deep utterances on our behalf seeking the will of our Father.

He hears the wordless pleadings, longings, sighs of His dear children–you and me.

He hears. And He knows our needs.

He brings His peace and love and mercy and soothes our aching souls for Jesus’ sake.

Thank You Father that You hear the groanings of our inward beings when we are at a loss for words.  Thank You for the intercession of the Spirit who intimately knows us as well as Your desires for us.  May we trust and hope in You alone to answer these deep well-spring prayers and to give you thanks and praise.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Come Out!

Photo by Justin Knight

Photo by Justin Knight

Under the bed

dust bunnies and all

next to my brother, Christ,

Our Father calls

‘Dearest ones, come out!

The sin that drove you

to hide away

has been carried away by Him.

I don’t see the dirt

I don’t smell the stench

I don’t feel the grit

of your gossip, greed or lust.

I see my daughter next to My Son

clean from head to toe.

I see my seal,

the Spirit-Guarantee

marked upon your breast

when faith entered in

through Water and the Word

and your life in me began.’

  * * * * *

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Romans 8:12-17

Thank You Abba Father for the wonder of Baptism when I was adopted as Your very own.  You gave me the gift of faith through the Water and the Word.  Thank You for Your love, for daily providing me with all that I need to live, for keeping me safe from harm and danger, for seeing the right-ness of Your dear Son, Jesus, in me.  Abba Father may I live for You today in love and gratitude and be found faithful as Your beloved child.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Rescued

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress

and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I

take refuge,

my shield, and the horn

of my salvation,

my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord,

who is worthy to be praised,

and I am saved from my enemies.

* * * * *

The cords of death encompassed me;

the torrents of destruction assailed me;

the cords of Sheol entangled me;

the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;

to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,

and my cry to him reached his ears.

* * * * *

Then the earth reeled and rocked;

the foundations also of the mountains

trembled and quaked,

because he was angry.

Smoke went up from his nostrils,

and devouring fire from his mouth;

glowing coals flamed forth from him.

He bowed the heavens and came down;

thick darkness was under his feet.

He rode on a cherub and flew;

he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his covering,

his canopy around him,

thick clouds dark with water.

Out of the brightness before him

hailstones and coals of fire

broke through his clouds.

The Lord also thundered in the heavens

and the Most High uttered his voice,

hailstones and coals of fire.

And he sent out his arrows

and scattered them;

he flashed forth lightnings

and routed them.

Then the channels of the sea were seen,

and the foundations of the earth

were laid bare

at your rebuke, O Lord,

at the blast of the breath

of your nostrils.

* * * * *

He sent from on high,

he took me;

he drew me out of many waters.

He rescued me from my strong enemy

and from those who hated me.

They confronted me in the day of my calamity,

but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a broad place;

he rescued me,

because he delighted in me.”

Psalm 18:1-19

* * * * *

Thank you Lord

for saving me

from sin that sweeps

me off my feet

pins me down

shouts “defeat”.

Your strong Word

declares me

“safe!”

No more to hear

the blame

of law

“you can’t,

you won’t,

you didn’t”.

Jesus,

 You can

and will

and do

uphold me

to the end

by grace I have been

saved through faith

not through works

lest I  should boast

in anything

but in You my Savior!

Amen!