Alas

suzie galagher

Photo by suzie gallagher

Alas! And did my Savior bleed, and did my sovereign die?  Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?  Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut his glories in when God, the mighty maker, died for His own creatures’ sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face while His dear cross appears, dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe; here, Lord, I give myself away: ‘Tis all that I can do.

Hymn Text by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20

 

September 24 His Red Chair Turned

Photo by Trae Patton/NBC

Photo by Trae Patton/NBC

Isaiah 43:14-45:10;  Ephesians 3:1-21;  Psalm 68:1-18;  Proverbs 24:1-2

God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah to his wayward, off-pitched people (and to us):

“But now hear, O Jacob, my servant,

Israel whom I have chosen!

Thus says the Lord who made you,

who formed you from the womb

and will help you:

Fear not, O Jacob my servant,

for I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;

I will put out my Spirit upon your offspring,

and my blessings on your descendents.

They shall spring up among the grass

like willows by flowing streams.

This one will say “I am the Lord’s,”

another will call on the name of Jacob,

and another will say, “I am the Lords.”

Isaiah 44:1-5

~

Beloved,

I hear your voice

its reedy tone,

the missed notes,

the uneven rhythm,

the faulty phrase.

The world may not turn its chair,

signal a “yes, I want you on my team,”

but I have turned my chair.

I will take your imperfections

and give you a new song to sing,

one of perfect harmony,

rhythm and grace.

My blood red chair

turns for you

to give you

unconditional love,

forgiveness of all your sins,

and a hearty “yes, I want you

on Team Yahweh!

Together we will sing

and make a joyful noise!

Lord God, thank you for not turning your back to me, for turning around through the blood of your Son Jesus Christ, for giving me Your Voice through faith.  Lord, I believe!  May my life be the song you want me to sing to the glory and honor of your Holy Name!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

(and yes…I am a fan of The Voice.)

August 1 Show Me

Photo by Josh Brown

Photo by Josh Brown


2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 20:13-15

“Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth
and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you
all the day long.
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners
in his ways.
He guides the humble in
what is right
and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord are
loving and faithful
for those who keep the commands
of his covenant.
The Lord confides in those who
fear him;
he makes His covenant known
to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release
my feet from the snare.”
Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14-15

Am I guideable?
Teachable?
Open to instruction?
Willing to be led?

What path am I
walking on today?
Where does it lead?
Who am I following?

If I get “stuck” along
the way
who do I call for help?
Whom do I trust?
“My mama said,
‘Keep the windows rolled up.'”

Not all guides are good.
Not all ways lead
to happiness and life.
Not all rescuers get
the job done.

I will trust the One
whose way led him
to the Cross,
whose blood rescued me,
who will never
steer me wrong.

Jesus said, “I am the way,
the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father
except through me.” John 14:6

Thank you Lord for rescuing me!

April 24 Service With A Smile

Image

Photo by Travis Silva

Judges 2:10-3:31;  Luke 22:14-34;  Psalm 92:1-93:5;  Proverbs 14:1-2

“But I am among you as

one who serves.”

Luke 2:27

The disciples were a bit power hungry.  They had just eaten the richest of fare–the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ–given by His own hand in the Bread and Wine.  And they started discussing who among them was the greatest.

Our sinful nature is like that–even though we possess the richest of heavenly fare–the very Salvation of our souls–we wouldn’t mind the spotlight to shine on us or our achievements.

Even though we are filled with the most powerful Spirit in the Universe who can do all things through us, we still want to claim a “higher” place in the world and puff out our chests in pride.

If anyone deserved the Royal treatment it was Jesus.  Yet he was the foot washer, healer, forgiver, listener, server–He was the ultimate sacrifice.  He did not seek the limelight, but found himself in it.  So he served–he gave, he did not demand.  No one could accuse Jesus of being power hungry.

After the Cross–and the Resurrection–the disciples finally understood Christ’s words, “I am among you as one who serves.”

Then they went and did likewise.

God grant that we do the same!

Lord God, please forgive us for our power hungry attitudes–as subtle as they may be .  We know what’s in our hearts.  Thank you that the power of the Cross–the forgiveness of sins–cleanses us from worldly leanings.  Grant that we serve you and our neighbor with a smile–in Jesus’ name!  Amen.

January 30 Gotcha Covered

Image

Photo by B Forsman

 

Exodus 10:1-12:13;  Matthew 20:1-28;  Psalm 25:1-15;  Proverbs 6:6-11

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt that night, both man and beast;  and on the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements:  I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”  Exodus 12:12-13

“Are you protected from Mayhem, like me?”

The Israelites would be reminded that God Almighty protected them from the mayhem that afflicted the Egyptians–swarms of locusts, hail, the deaths of all firstborn males-human and animal.  They would remember the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels.  They would remember God’s gracious deliverance of them out of the land of their captivity.

We too are protected from mayhem–sin, death, and the devil–by the blood of the Lamb.  We remember our Savior’s sacrifice of his life on the cross for our sins.  We remember each time we partake in the Lord’s Supper that he saved us from God’s wrath and judgement.  We remember that in our Baptism we were covered by water and the Word — that our sins were forgiven and we were given a new identity in Christ who says, “I gotcha covered–you are mine–you are safe!”

Thank you dear Jesus for covering us with your blood–that the Father’s wrath and judgement passes over us and that he sees us as pure and righteous because of you.  Thank you  for your sacrifice that is beyond our comprehension.  Thank you for your great love and mercy.  May we live this day in gratitude to you and in service to those around us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

“To you O Lord I lift up my soul; 

in you I trust, O my God.”  Psalm 25:1

July 31 Renewal

Image

Photo by Matt Gruber

 

2 Chronicles 29:1-36:  Romans 14:1-23:  Psalm 24:1-10;  Proverbs 20:12

“Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king…he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them…(the Levites) went in to purify the temple as the king had ordered, following the word of the Lord.  The priests went in to the sanctuary to purify it.  They brought out everything unclean that they found…so the service of the Lord was reestablished.  Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.”  2 Chronicles 29:1,3,15-16, 35-36

By God’s grace Hezekiah put the kingdom under his rule back on the right path.  Gone was idol worship and closed temple doors.  Open was the heart of the king, the hearts of his people and the doors to the Lord’s house.  True worship was renewed.

By God’s grace I am renewed.

Open the doors to my heart, O Lord,

temple doors shut tight

by sin and wayward ways.

Remove false trappings of self importance

that cover your glory

made dingy and grimy by ego film and dust.

Cleanse me with your gift-blood

and make me pure within

that I may sing your praise.

Lord God, with you renewal is possible!  With repentance on our lips we turn away from our self-made idols and receive cleansing through the blood of the Lamb–your Son our Lord.  Thank you for cleansing us and renewing us.  May the doors of our heart be open for worship and praise this day.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.