Hope and Comfort

Featured

Entrust your days and burdens to God’s most loving hand;

He cares for you while ruling the sky, the sea, the land.

For He who guides the tempests along their thunderous ways

Will find for you a pathway and guide you all your days.

Our hands and feet, Lord, strengthen; with joy our spirits bless

Until we see the ending of all our life’s distress.

And so throughout our lifetime keep us within Your care

And at our end then bring us to heav’n to praise You there. Amen

~Paul Gerhardt, hymnist

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of this salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

1 Peter 1:3-7


We have comfort and hope in Christ Jesus!

God bless you and keep you in His care!

Perfect Love

untitled

O perfect life of love!  All, all, is finished now.

All that He left His throne above

To do for us below.

No work is left undone of all the Father willed;

His toil, His sorrows, one by one,

The Scriptures have fulfilled.

No pain that we can share but He has felt its smart;

All forms of human grief and care

Have pierced that tender heart.

b01eeedcb94b18ceb0353156f7387b0b--christ-on-the-cross-roman-catholic

And on His thorn-crowned head and on His sinless soul

Our sins in all their guilt were laid

That He might make us whole.

In perfect love He dies;  for me He dies, for me.

O all atoning Sacrifice,

I cling by faith to Thee.

Alonso Cano

In every time of need, before the judgment throne,

Thy work, O Lamb of God, I’ll plead,

Thy merits, not mine own.

Yet, work, O Lord, in me as Thou for me hast wrought;

And let my love the answer be

To grace Thy love has brought.

~Henry W. Baker

Artwork by Paulo DuqueFrade, Gilles Catelin and Alonso Cano

 

 

Serving in Love

jesus-washing-peters-feet-by-sieger-koder

Jesus, greatest at the table, the almighty Son of Man,

Laid aside His outer clothing poured some water in a pan;

As the Twelve lay, hushed in silence, He the servant’s task began.

Marvel how their Lord and teacher gently taught them not to vie

As He humbly knelt before them dusty feet to wash and dry,

By His tender touch expressing true compassion from on high.

Jesus took the role of servant when upon that gruesome span,

For all human sin He suffered as a vile and loathsome man;

On the cross poured out like water to fulfill the Father’s plan.

Can we fathom such deep mercy?  Do we see what God has done?

Who can grasp this great reversal;  Love that gives His only Son?

Christ, the sinless for the sinners, for the many dies the One.

Jesus gave to His disciples a commandment that was new:

“Show My love to one another, do as I have done for you;

All the world will know you love Me as you love each other too.”

Hymn “Jesus, Greatest at the Table” by Stephen P. Starke

“But He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”  Matthew 23:11

Heavenly Father, grant us Your mercy and grace to love others even as we have been loved by You through Your Son, Jesus Christ, the greatest servant of all.  In His name we pray, Amen.

 

 

Vocation

How clear is our vocation, Lord, when once we heed Your call:

To live according to Your Word and daily learn, refreshed, restored,

That You are Lord of all and will not let us fall.

But if, forgetful, we should find Your yoke is hard to bear;

If worldly pressures fray the mind, and love itself cannot unwind

Its tangled skein of care;  our inward life repair.

We marvel how Your saints become in hindrances more sure;

Whose joyful virtues put to shame the casual way we wear Your name

And by our faults obscure Your pow’r to cleanse and cure.

In what You give us, Lord, to do, together or alone,

In old routines or ventures new, may we not cease to look to You,

The cross You hung upon– all You endeavored done.

~Fred Pratt Green, 1903-2000

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Lord, may we indeed look to You in these troubled times to see the depth of Your love for us as shown to us by the Cross. There You gave Your life for us as You bore the wrath of Your Father who turned His face from You when all He could see was mankind’s sins obscuring His beloved Son. The Holy forsaking the unholy mess that was You. And now, You come alongside us in our times of trouble and shoulder our griefs and our burdens willingly, faithfully, lovingly. Thank You, Lord Jesus. May Your strength be ours. May Your light be light in us and keep us ever faithful to You! In Your name we pray, Amen.

Give Thanks

St. Louis Botanical Gardens

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Really, LORD? Give thanks in ALL circumstances? Like having to wait and wait and wait for my husband’s diagnosis while evidence of “whatever” affects the very words he speaks? Time is a’wastin’ as they say. But LORD, You already know everything that is taking place. And you are beside us as we wait. You are keeping your promise to “never leave you nor forsake you.” You are with us in this terrible waiting time.

And LORD, You will be with us when the word comes to us after the results of the MRI scan reveals the “what” and the doctor indicates the “next.”

Help me LORD to lean on You–totally–Forgive my impatience, my quiet anger at long delays. Help me to be thankful for this waiting time that is teaching me to trust you in all things–even this scary medical thing that we have no control over.

Thank You LORD for your long suffering and patience with us, Your creatures. Thank you for this lens through which we see what truly is important and lasting–faith in You, Your love and forgiveness, Your faithfulness to us and willingness to carry us through hard times.

Thank You for all the many blessings of family and friends, work and home, effective government, safe neighborhoods, exceptional medical facilities, skilled counselors, and caring pastors and deaconesses who share prayers and Your Word of truth with us.

Thank You for Your peace which passes all understanding and for keeping our hearts and minds focused on You–the One who casts out all fear.

Thank you, LORD, for everything, in all circumstances, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Imperative

O give thanks unto the LORD! For He is good; His mercy endures forever!

Give thanks!

An imperative from one who who knows in her heart

that God is Good

all the time.

He never changes.

His love endures past seasons of joy and despair

and draws me to Himself

no matter have far

I’ve wandered.

That’s grace!

Unmerited.

Undeserved.

Love even though.

Because of Jesus

who wandered our earth

far from His Father’s throne

to live and die and rise again for me.

Imperative.

Give thanks to the One who alone has the power to save,

restore,

renew.

Give thanks!

Steadfast love…

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil not spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:26b

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD says so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.,


Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the LORD,
his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits end.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders...

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalm 107:1-32, 43

When I read this Psalm in my devotion earlier this week I was struck by the powerful images of distress captured in this song written by David. Scattered people, homeless people, hungry, thirsty and tired people. People suffering physically from ignoring God’s wisdom and their own poor choices. Those shackled by sin and grief and guilt. People reeling from nature’s destructive ways. Then I noticed that the LORD did not desert those in need of his help even though they had turned their back to him. He answered their cries for help. Relieved, healed, rescued, forgiven they went on to tell others of the LORD’S work in their lives. They told of his STEADFAST LOVE.

I’ve been there…I’ve cried out to the LORD…He heard my cries and answered me–not because I deserved to be saved, but because HE is LOVE. It is his nature to heal, restore, forgive, renew. Thanks be to God for his steadfast love. Turn to him in times of trouble. He is there to help!

For Today

“This is what the LORD says–

Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“I am the LORD your God,

who teaches you what is best for you,

who directs you in the way you should go.”

Isaiah 48:17

Somedays my head spins from all of the incoming info from all sorts of sources.

Granted, I choose to open myself up to reading, listening, focusing on all these bringers of information. I can choose to skip the newspaper read, the Facebook scan, the FM radio broadcast, the book at my bedside table, my phone conversations and texting forays. But is that what I really need to do? Cut myself off from hearing, reading, engaging with others? Perhaps…if I am totally depending on these outside sources to give me truth and wisdom and direction and comfort. Isaiah, God’s prophet, brings God’s Word to bear on my world, on my reality. Thankfully, God speaks to me and says, I AM the LORD your God. I teach you what is best! I direct your ways. Ah…what comfort stills my anxious heart. What peace replaces troubled thoughts. God’s ways are not my ways. May I be still long enough to hear His voice, just as I did this afternoon when I opened up my Bible and read these words from Isaiah. They ring true in my heart. I know I can trust my LORD and God!

God, thank you for your teaching and your guidance in my life. Through Jesus Christ Your Son, I pray. Amen.

To the Lamb!

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
   and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5: 9-10

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13

And the Lamb is Christ our Lord!

Continuing in Easter Joy!