A Prayer

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O God, O Lord of heaven and earth, thy living finger never wrote

That life should be an aimless mote, a deathward drift from futile birth.

Thy word meant life triumphant hurled through every cranny of Thy world.

Since light awoke and life began, Thou hast desired Thy life for man.

 

Our fatal will to equal Thee, our rebel will, wrought death and night.

We seized and used in Thy despite Thy wondrous gifts of liberty.

We housed us in this house of doom, where death had royal scope and room,

Until Thy Servant Prince of Peace breached all its walls for our release.

 

Thou camest to our hall of death, O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air,

To drink for us the dark despair that strangles man’s reluctant breath.

How beautiful the feet that trod the road that leads us back to God!

How beautiful the feet that ran to bring the great good news to man!

 

O Spirit, who didst once restore Thy Church, that it might be again

The bringer of good news to men, breathe on Thy cloven church once more,

That in these gray latter days there may be men whose life is praise,

Each life a high doxology to Father, Son and unto Thee.   Amen.

~Hymn by Martin H. Franzmann

 

This prayer-hymn speaks of the ways God works in the world that He created, redeemed, and is restoring unto Himself.  We are created by Him, redeemed through His Son Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and now sent to share this Good News with others.

Blessings on your day!

LJ

 

 

 

Joy

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You put me on the stretch, O God.

You do me the honor of putting me to the test

as You once tested our Father Abraham.

You bid me do the impossible:

not only to endure

the tempering heat of trial

but to rejoice in it–impossible!

 

But Your Son did not find it impossible

when You tried Him with failure.

He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit

and gave thanks to You

when You took from Him

the wise and understanding

and revealed Him only to babes,

to the inconsequential little ones

in whom Your love delights.

 

Your servant Paul found it possible.

Your servant James found it possible.

And You are my Father just as You are theirs.

I thank You for all proofs of Fatherhood.

I thank You for the trials I meet.

Give me the heart to meet them unafraid,

to joy in them as I rejoice in You.  Amen.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Remembering on this day the trials that began in New York 15 years ago….

 

 

 

 

One

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In Adam we have all been one,

One huge rebellious man;

We all have fled that Evening Voice

That sought us as we ran.

 

We fled Thee and in losing Thee

We lost our brother too;

Each singly claimed and sought his own;

Each one his brother slew.

 

But Thy Strong love, it sought us still

And sent us Thine only Son

That we might hear His Shepherd’s voice

And, hearing Him, be one.

 

O Thou who, when we loved Thee not,

Didst love and save us all,

Thou great Good Shepherd of mankind,

O hear us when we call.

 

Send us Thy Spirit, teach us truth;

Thou Son, O set us free

From fancied wisdom, self-sought ways,

To make us one in Thee.

 

Then shall our song united rise

To Thine eternal throne,

Where with the Father evermore

And Spirit Thou art One.

Amen.

Hymn text by Martin H. Franzmann

 

What the world needs now is…to know the great love of God who sent His only Son to redeem sinful man and restore us to Himself and to one another.  Let that be our prayer today!

God bless your day!

LJ

Friendship

 

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“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4: 29-32.

Lord God, thank you for friends.  May we cherish them, seek the best for them, and speak well of them always.  Thank you for being our friend.  For loving us when we were unloveable, forgiving us when we did not deserve it, for saving us from sin and death.  By your Holy Spirit help us this day to be a friend to the friendless and to love them even as we have been loved by you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Without A Doubt

DSCF006519 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, [i]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Didymus (the twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later His disciples were again inside the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors had been barred, and stood among them and said, Peace to you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but [stop doubting and] believe.” 28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, and favored by God] are they who did not see [Me] and yet believed [in Me].”

30 There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.  John 20:19-31 Amplified Bible

 

Without a doubt God gives us what we need to hear about who He is, what He’s done, and what He continues to do through the lives of those who believe in Him.

We may not be given all the answers to all the questions that we have, but we have enough.

Doubts come to us all at some point.  Like Thomas we want proof such as nail holes and a spear gash that we can touch and see.

And yet, we do have tangible signs of His presence in our lives–the Waters of Baptism, the Bread and Wine and His Word which is living and active. These all do wonderful things to us and for us in our lives of faith.

We may have our doubts, but God has us firmly in the palm of His Hand!

Thank You Lord for giving us Your Word which never fails!  Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit that gives us insight into Your truth and strengthens our faith.  Continue to draw us to You through Your precious Word, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

Future Glory

Spring Trio

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, although the world has not know You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:22-26

Lord God, what is glorious about being Your Child is that I am one with you–Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And I am one with all those who call upon Your Name in faith.  The words that You spoke to Your disciples are words meant for every believer.  By Your Spirit may Your love be shed abroad through me in word and deed that the world may know You.  Forgive me for my pettiness, my divisiveness, my self-serving attitude that would seek glory for itself.  Thank You for loving me, for giving me identity and purpose in this life.  To You and You alone I give all glory and praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Scaredy Cat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur deepest fear isn’t that we’re powerful, it’s that we’re inadequate. It’s our darkness, not our light, that frightens us. We scare ourselves when we feel unhealthy. We encounter smarter, better people. We discover there’s family who don’t cherish us. We learn the world doesn’t need us. Suddenly, we realize our talents, energy, and wisdom […]

via Bread From Beggar’s Hands ~ May 26, 2018 — The First Premise

New Beginnings

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Clap your hands, all peoples!  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.

He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.

He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises!  Sing praises to our King,

sing praises!

For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!

God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham.  For the shields of  the earth belong to God;

he is highly exalted!

Psalm 47

Lord God, today is a new beginning for me.  A day that I start a journey of studies and preparation for work as a deaconess.  It is a day of new beginnings for others as well.  May the strong words of this psalm give courage and peace for all of us who are depending on You to see us through.  We give you thanks for the heritage of life in your Son, Jesus Christ.  May we give you honor and glory and praise this day!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Generous

image by lovefortheunderdog.org

image by lovefortheunderdog.org

“The point is this:  whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our our righteousness.

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

* * * * *

Ellen DeGeneres is generous.

Every day on her show someone in need benefits from her generosity.

And it is usually because Ellen has learned of their generosity or selfless acts.

Recently a school boy who bakes and sells cookies to help support his mom and himself received a car from Ellen.

The audience cheered.

The mom and the boy and Ellen shared a group hug.

Each time that I see this kind of generosity I’m reminded of the greatest act of generosity ever given–that of our Heavenly Father giving His only Son to die for our sins and to give us a brand new life–and we didn’t even do a thing to deserve such a great gift!

God continues to lavish on us His gifts of grace and love and mercy–so much so that it spills over out of our lives to touch the lives of others.

The Corinthian Christians had experienced God’s healing touch and lavish grace within their troubled congregation.  Their outward response was pledging to help the needy saints in Jerusalem.  St. Paul told them God would supply them with all they would need to fulfill that pledge.  Thanksgiving would abound.

How can we be generous with God’s gifts to us this week?

Lord God, your great love for us overflows in all that you do for us.  We thank and praise you for forgiving our sins and making us whole.  May we freely share these good gifts with those around us whether with a good word, a smile, a five dollar bill or a bottle of water.  Let us love and care for others even as we are loved and cared for by you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“I will praise your  great compassion

Faithful Father, God of grace,

That with all our fallen race

In our depth of degredation

You had mercy so that we

Might be saved eternally.”

~ Johannes Olearius

A personal note:  For the last three years I’ve had the privilege of writing daily devotions on my blog “What’s the Good Word?”  Through this wonderful blogging community I’ve learned much, grown much and cherished the interactions with you. Tomorrow I begin full time studies as a graduate student at Concordia Seminary.  My time for blogging may be at a premium, and I just wanted to let you know that I will still be checking in, but perhaps not as regularly as I have in the past.  May you continue to be in God’s Word daily and let it richly dwell in you.  Let’s stay in touch!   Blessings ~ Laura

Always There

Photo by Jennifer Burr

Photo by Jennifer Burr

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind;

from His dwelling place he watches all who live on earth–

he who forms the hearts of all,

who considers everything they do.

 * * * * *

No king is saved by the size of his army;

no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;

despite all its great strength it cannot save.

* * * * *

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,

on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

to deliver them from death,

and keep them alive in famine.

* * * * *

We wait in hope for the Lord;

he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love rest upon us,

O Lord, even as we put our trust in you.”

Psalm 22:12-22

Lord God, so often I misplace my trust when I run into trouble.   Instead of falling on my knees and bringing to you my concerns I try “this and that”, I consult experts, I go to my friends, to books, to talk radio, to the internet.  Lord, forgive me for not coming to you first!  Lord, you know my human frailty and in your mercy you don’t turn away from me when I finally come to you.  You generously give your wisdom, your strength, your patience and perseverance to me.  And I am helped.  Thank you Lord God for your faithfulness and grace.  Always.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.