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!

Love Unknown

Ben Parker cross

Photo by Ben Cross

My song is love unknown, my Savior’s love to me, love to the loveless shows that they might lovely be.   Oh, who am I that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne salvation to bestow; but men made strange and none the longed-for Christ would know.  But, oh, my friend, my friend indeed, who at my need His life did spend!

Sometimes they strew His way and His sweet praises sing; resounding all the day Hosannas to their King.  Then “Crucify!” is all their breath, and for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?  What makes this rage and spite?  He made the lame to run, He gave the blind their sight.  Sweet injuries!  Yet they at these themselves displease and ‘gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have my dear Lord made a way; A murderer they save, the Prince of Life they slay.  Yet cheerful He to suff’ring goes that He His foes from thence might free.

In life no house, no home my Lord on earth might have; In death no friendly tomb but what a stranger gave.  What may I say? Heav’n was His home but mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing, no story so divine!  Never was love, dear King, never was grief like Thine.  This is my friend, in whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend!

Hymn text by Samuel Crossman, 1624-83

“but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Walked the Road

photo by Jennifer Cabrera

O Christ, You walked the road our wandr’ing feet must go.  You faced with us temptations power and fought our ancient foe.

No bread of earth alone can fill our hung’ring hearts.  Lord, help us seek Your living Word, the food Your grace imparts.

No blinding sign we ask, no wonder from above.  Lord, help us place our trust alone in Your unswerving love.

When lures of easy gain with promise brightly shine, Lord, help us seek Your kingdom first; our will with Yours align.

O Christ, You walked the road our wand’ring feet must go.  Stay with us through temptation’s hour to fight our ancient foe.

Hymn text by Herman Stuempfle, Jr. 1923-2007

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will  be able to endure it.  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-14.

May 10 Wonder Bread

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Photo by Lucindy Garcia

1 Samuel 8:1-9:27;  John 6:22-42;  Psalm 106:32-48;  Proverbs 14:34-35

 

“Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bred of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

      “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”

      Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  John 6:32-35

 

Search not the shelves

of Shop and Save

for bread that satisfies.

Look not to politicians

to stretch out helping

hands.

Toil not in vain

till strength is spent

for that which does

nourish.

Look up,

my soul.

Look up

to heaven

and accept the

Bread of Life.

Wonder bread,

Christ our Lord

broken and given

for you.

You will be

forever filled.

Lord God, this day may I look to you alone to fill my longing heart, to ease my fears, to give relief to doubting thoughts. You, who gave your only Son, who feeds the world with grace have mercy on me and forgive my sins, for Jesus’ sake.  Fill me with your Wonder Bread and let me live for You.  I praise your holy name–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!  Amen.

April 2 Cost of Discipleship

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Image by Chris Bearing

Deuteronomy 21:1-23:20;  Luke 9:51-10:12;  Psalm 74:1-23;  Proverbs 12:11

“As they were going along the road someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head.”  To another he said, “Follow me.”  But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.  But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”  Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:57-62

Lord, I want to follow you but my to-do list gets so long.

I must.  I must.  I must.

I should. I should.  I should.

Breathless I end the day.

What’s so important, you ask, Lord?

What ranks higher than time in your Word?

In Prayer?

In worship?

Life, Lord!

Life demands my all–24/7!

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you will appear with him in glory.”  Colossians 3:1-4

“Come follow me,” said Christ the Lord,

“All in my way abiding;

Your selfishness throw overboard,

Obey my call and guiding.

Oh bear your crosses, and confide

In my example as your guide.”

~Johann Scheffler~

Dear Jesus, without your life given for me on the Cross, I would have a very empty life.  It could be a busy one, but it would not be filled with the peace that comes from knowing my sins are forgiven;  that it has meaning beyond the to-do lists.  By your grace and mercy you have given me REAL life–one that will never end. Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you! Help me to live this day dedicated to following you by being faithful in all I say and do even when it may not be easy to do so.  In your name I pray, Amen.

January 13 Faith Gets Close

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Photo by M. Jones

Genesis 28: 1-29:35;  Matthew 9:18-38;  Psalm 11:1-7;  Proverbs 3:11-12

He heard the Word

and believed,

a hopeful father

reached for life

for his now-stilled daughter.

Jesus followed and walked past

the laughter

to honor the man’s request,

and by her hand he raised her.

 

She heard the Word,

without a doubt,

she touched the hem of Christ.

Her bleeding stopped.

She was healed.

His words meant even more,

“Take heart, daughter,

your faith has made you well.”

 

I hear the Word,

I live each day by faith in Him

who loves–

who draws me close and whispers,

‘your faith has made you well.’

Water and  Word have washed

away the sin, and fear and doubt,

So I shall go as He commands

and sing His praise today!

Lord God, I will sing your praise today!  Thank you for bringing healing to my sin-sick soul–for your loving balm of forgiveness–for faith that believes your word!  Lord, may I draw encouragement from your Holy Word today.  I especially draw close in faith to pray for a sister in Christ who needs your healing touch.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer and grant relief this day.  Amen.

“Then let us approach the throne of grace

with confidence,

so that we may receive mercy

and find grace to help

in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

September 26 Dress For Success

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stockphoto

Isaiah 48:12-50:11;  Ephesians 4:17-32;  Psalm 69:1-18;  Proverbs 24:5-6

Power suits,

power ties,

   power shoes

–and socks.

Shake like this.

Smile like that.

       Speak with confidence.

Coached to perfection

    Head to toe control.

       Groomed to win at work,

    at life.

But, is there something more?

“put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22-24

Off with bitterness,

   off with wrath,

      and anger.

Off with malice,

    off with clamor,

        off with evil slander.

Baptismal water and the Word

   strip us bare of sin.

We arise, clothed in white,

    dressed in Christ’s success.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Lord God Heavenly Father, thank you for dressing us in the white robes of Christ’s righteousness in our Baptism;  for the forgiveness of sins; for the Spirit’s power to live “successfully” in your Kingdom.

Forgive us when we stray from your path; when we succumb to the world’s way of climbing its “ladder of success.”  May we be found faithful in living, working and loving the way you desire, to your glory–not ours.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

  

    

July 11 Bound and Determined

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Art by Will Wallace

 

1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18;  Acts 28:1-31;  Psalm 9:1-12;  Proverbs 19:1-3

Paul was bound–“it is because of the hope of Israel that I’m wearing this chain”  (Acts 28:20) and determined –“Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught abut the Lord Jesus.”  Acts 28:31

Jesus was bound and determined–“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into this world–to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to me.”  John 18:37

Am I bound and determined like Paul and Christ to speak boldly and share with others the Law and the Gospel?

Am I bound and determined to search my heart, to confess my sins before God, and to seek his forgiveness?

Am I bound and determined to share the hope I have within me–that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ?

Am I bound and determined?

Our Father in heaven, hear our prayer for Jesus’ sake.  Bind us to you through the truth of your word; through the forgiveness of our sins and through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Enable us to boldly bear witness to your saving Grace in Christ our Lord.  Help us when we waver.  Give us your determination.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen

“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all your wonders.  I will be glad and rejoice in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O most High.”

Psalm 9:1-2

June 22 He’ll Use What You Have

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2 Kings 3:1-4:17;  Acts 14:8-28;  Psalm 140:1-13;  Proverbs 17:22

You’re in big trouble…like the widow who was about to lose her two sons to slavery because she couldn’t pay her husband’s debts.

Seek help…like the widow who took her problem to the man of God, the prophet Elisha.

Be honest…like when the widow answered Elisha’s questions–“How can I help you?  What do you have in your house?” and she answered truthfully “Your servant has nothing there at all, except a little oil.”  2 Kings 4:2

Do the next thing…like the widow who did as Elisha told her–“go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars.  Don’t ask for just a few.  Then go inside and shut the door…pour oil into all the jars, and as each one is filled, put it to the side.”  2 Kings 4:3-4

Experience a miracle…like the widow who saw the oil stop flowing as the last jar was filled and the sale of all the full jars of oil pay off all her husband’s debts.  She even had money left over for her and her sons to live on.

Give thanks…“O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever.

Lord God, thank you for reminding us through this story of the widow and her sons that you are very aware of our needs and that you take what little we may have to offer and you turn it into blessing.  Help us to come to you always and trust you to help us in our times of need.  Give us courage to do the next thing and to be found faithful.  Thank you for placing us within our family of brothers and sisters in Christ to whom we can go when we need help.  Grant that we may always be ready to help others in need as you lead us to respond.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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