United We Stand

Photo by David Christian

Photo by David Christian

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields it fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does he prospers.

Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Psalm 1:1-6

Photo by David Christian

Photo by David Christian

* * * * *

In Christ we shall stand

righteous

before the Father

not because of what we have

done

but because of what He has done

for us.

If you believe in your heart

that Jesus Christ died for your sins on the Cross

and rose from the dead

and lives and reigns in Heaven

you shall stand.

THAT is something to celebrate

on this 4th of July weekend!

Photo by David Christian

Photo by David Christian 

Thank you Lord God for the true freedom we have in Jesus Christ no matter where we live is this big wide world! To you be all honor, glory and praise!  Amen.

June 27 Saturday Praise

Photos by Laura Jostes

Photos by Laura Jostes

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

his greatness no one can fathom.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all;

he has compassion on all he has made.

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The Lord is faithful to all his promises

and loving toward all he has made.

The Lord upholds all those fall

and lifts up all who are bowed down.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways

and loving toward all he has made.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

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He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;

he hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love him,

but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.

Let every creature praise his holy name

for ever and ever.”

Psalm 145

Lord God,  You really care about Your creation–each and every individual person, animal, bird, flower, tree.  You are far beyond our imaginings and for that I am forever grateful.  For only You could come up with a plan of Salvation that frees us from our sin and gives us hope for life everlasting.  Yes, the created world has many beautiful wonders, but it is marred, flawed, imperfect and it is nothing when compared to the beauty of knowing you as Lord and Savior.  You alone give peace that passes human understanding when we are alone with our griefs, hurts, and disappointments.   Thank you for your heart of compassion, love, and mercy that reaches out to us and gives us strength.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Walking On Water

JesusPeterWalkingOnWater-Mural

paulomanfineart.com

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“When Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me.”  Matthew 14:29,30

* * * * *

Peter had a little faith in the midst of his doubts, says Bunyan; and so with crying and coming he was brought to Christ.

But here you see that sight was a hindrance;  the waves were none of his business when once he had set out; all Peter had any concern with was the pathway of light that came gleaming across the darkness from where Christ stood.  If it was tenfold Egypt beyond that, Peter had no call to look and see.

When the Lord shall call to you over the waters, “Come,” step gladly forth.  Look not for a moment away from Him.

Not by measuring the waves can you prevail; not by gauging the wind will you grow strong; to scan the danger may be to fall before it; to pause at the difficulties is to have them break above your head.  Lift up your eyes unto the hills, and go forward–there is no other way.

Dost thou fear to launch away?

Faith lets go to swim!

Never will He let thee go;

‘Tis by trusting thou shalt know

Fellowship with Him.

Lord God, I hear your call to me to come and walk on the water; to follow You where I have not yet been; to trust in Your power to sustain, protect, and provide.  Gracious Lord, grant that I gladly hear your call and accept your invitation to work alongside You this day.  Help me to keep my eyes steadily focused on You and to disregard the “what ifs” that come my way.  Thank you, Lord, for your steadfast example of love and obedience–even as you walked to Calvary’s Cross, for it was a walk that led to my deliverance.  Praise you Lord Jesus!  In Your name I pray, Amen.

One Life

All aglow

“Do not toil to acquire wealth;

be discerning enough to desist.

When your eyes light on it, it is gone,

for suddenly it sprouts wings,

flying like an eagle toward heaven.”

Proverbs 23:4-5

* * * * *

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

— extra stanza —

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”
C.T Studd

Lord God, thank you for giving me life.  May it be lived for you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Even To You

Photos by Laura Jostes

Photos by Laura Jostes

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge…that your trust may be in the Lord; I have made them known to you today, even to you.”  Proverbs 22:17-19

* * * * *

Words. Words.

Either they give life

or they lead to death.

The power of THE WORD to make new;

to cut through the thick callouses of one’s heart

to remove the lifeless from the beating part.

The power of THE WORD

to pump new life into wastelands;

to cause rivers to flow

and flowers to blossom,

to quench the thirst

and satisfy.

The power of THE WORD,

the power of Christ our Lord

to forgive sins,

remove guilt,

impart the Holy Spirit

through Word and Sacrament

gives me hope to see beyond

to a day when loved ones share in

the joy of His Salvation

and with united voice

praise our God and King!

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* * * * *

Jesus, you are THE WORD

the great I AM

that made soldiers fall on their faces

at your arrest

at your resurrection

and will cause all men

to fall on their faces before You

when You return to judge

the living and the dead.

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* * * * *

Do you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior?

In Him whose blood set you free to become one of His?

He is calling your name

Calling you to turn away from your sin

to give you forgiveness

and new life.

Your life will be refreshed

and living water will flow through you.

You will never be the same again!

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Amen.

Love Link

Image by Khya Barkema

Image by Khya Barkema

Jesus prays to His Father in Heaven….

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  O, righteous Father, even the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:24-26

* * * * *

As believers, we are indelibly linked to those first disciples who knew Jesus first hand, who heard His words–words given to Him by His Father in Heaven–and believed!

* * * * *

And His love received from His Father flowed from Christ to His disciples–and flows down to us today.  We are linked to one another in that same love no matter what denomination or church affiliation –we are all united into Christ through His Word, His Love.

* * * * *

The world cannot see this large, holy temple of the living God surrounding the globe with faithful hearts and praise, who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, but it can see you and me.  May we show the love of God today!

* * * * *

God grant protection and strength to Your Holy temple of living stones this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Church of God, elect and glorious

Holy nation, chosen race;

Called as God’s own special people,

Royal priests and heirs of grace:

Know the purpose of your calling

Show to all His mighty deeds;

Tell of love that knows no limits

Grace that meets all human needs.

* * * * *

Church of God, elect and holy,

Be the people He intends;

Strong in faith and swift to answer

Each command your Master sends:

Royal priests, fulfill your calling

Through your sacrifice and prayer;

Give your lives in joyful service–

Sing His praise, His love declare.

~James E. Seddon

Programmed To Love

Big_Hero_6_(film)_poster

[Jesus speaking to his disciples, said:]

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give to you.  These things I command you that you should love one another.”  John 15:12-17

Big Hero Six, a recent Pixar film carried the theme of love and servanthood and losing one’s life for the sake of the others.

Programmed to heal and to always do good the robot Baymax fulfilled his mission even as he propelled his human friends out of danger and he was left to oblivion.  It seemed that that was the end of the beloved Baymax.  Until it was discovered that had put his healthchip into his human patient’s possession and was saved.  The end of the movie shows another Baymax ready and willing to help his next patient.  Baymax lived on, along with his capability to nurture and heal.

Jesus, when his mission on earth was completed, left his disciples [and us] with the same mission–to love, to heal, to forgive, to lead people to the Father, that they too may have life everlasting.

After Jesus went back to Heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of those who believe in Him.  The fullness of our Savior now dwells within us and informs us of the Father’s will to reconcile the world, heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free!

WillPaul McDonald

Lord God, thank you for sending us the Holy Spirit to help us live out the life of love that was demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ.  We pray that all of your followers around the world will bear witness to you command to love even as we have been loved and saved, to be light in a dark world.  We especially pray for brothers and sisters in the faith who face persecution because they bear your name.  Keep them in the one true faith to the end of their days.  And when we should come face to face with those who hate us because of you, give us the strength to stand firm and to love even as you have loved.  For Jesus’ sake I pray, Amen.