Hope and Comfort

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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!

Gentle Voice

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn our day and age we hear so many voices coming from all kinds of places seeking our attention or offering direction.   We are bombarded it seems with voices, voices, voices of politicians, advertisers, families, friends, authors, teachers, pastors, and even strangers (on TV, radio, internet).  Sometimes the voice we hear is our own voice inside our head telling us ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’, ‘good job’, or ‘you really blew it’.  What voice to you listen to?  Whose voice do you seek?

Whose voice provides you with unconditional love?  Comfort?   Trustworthy guidance?  One that always speaks the truth and gives you no reason to doubt?  That never condemns you?  That you would follow blindfolded?

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold;  I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”  John 10:14-16

Hear Jesus call your name today.  He is your Good Shepherd.  He leads you to green pastures with still waters.  He tends to your wounds with oil.  He gently leads you.  He goes before you checking for danger, ever watchful.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  He will lead you home.

Dear Jesus,  You are my Good Shepherd.  Your gentle voice guides me and directs me through life’s challenging ways.  Thank you for calling me by name and claiming me for your own.  Thank you for your protection and your care.  Above all, thank you for laying down your life for me on the Cross; for paying the penalty of my sin and bearing my punishment upon yourself.   In your name I pray, Amen.

No Trouble At All

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“The fear of the Lord leads to life:

Then one rests content,

untouched by trouble.”

Proverbs 19:23

* * * * * 

Troubles from within,

from without

come to all in this world.

From within:

our sin,

our weakness,

our bad judgments,

our missteps.

From without:

all of the above

found in those

with whom we

work,

live,

and play

from day to day.

Multiplied by thousands,

millions

of those who’ve

walked this earth,

who walk it now.

The world is full of trouble,

but there is One who was among us

whose life was trouble free

from within.

His goodness and mercy

followed Him

wherever He went.

And because the world knew Him not

it caused trouble for Him

to the point that it got rid of Him

or so it thought.

We are of that world–

our sin and unbelief

put Him on the Cross.

Our trouble

became His trouble.

He suffered and died for it.

So great was God’s love for us.

Because God is God

trouble does not touch Him

or keep Him down.

Death did not destroy

our Lord–

He destroyed the power

of sin, death and Satan’s

trouble over us!

We can rejoice!

God has called us

to be His own

through faith.

Nothing can ever separate us

from God’s love

no trouble within

no trouble without

for His Spirit dwells in us

and gives us

peace.

Blessed God and Father, thank you for calling us to be your own; for taking on all of our troubles and destroying their power over us.  No matter what seems to be troubling us, we give you thanks and praise for Your victory which is now ours through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with You in highest Heaven!  In His name we pray, Amen!

Spirit Search

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“I consider the days of old, the years long ago.  I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.”  Then my spirit made a diligent search:

“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?

Has his steadfast love forever ceased?

Are his promises at an end for all time?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”

* * * * *

“Then I said, I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

I will remember the arm of the Lord;

Yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

You are the God who works wonders;

you have made known your might among the peoples.

You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.”

Psalm 77:5-11, 14-15

* * * * *

When trouble deep surrounds me,

When sleepless I lie in bed

Search, my soul, for Jesus

Listen to what He’s said:

“I will never leave nor forsake you,”

I’m here for you always

Though it might not seem

to be, you

 I’ll not deny

 my love and tender mercy

that will see you through the day

or my comfort and compassion

to guide you through the night.

Lean on me, my dear one,

I can bear the weight

of all your worries

and your fears

and get you to the Gate

that opens up to

Peace.

* * * * *

“I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon My breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,

So weary, worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place,

And He has made me glad.”

~ Horatius Bonar

Thank you Lord Jesus, for the gift of your presence in my life in good times and in bad; for seeing me through those challenging times; for giving me your strength to carry on.  Help me to remember, to ponder, to consider all of the mighty deeds you have done and for the faithful day to day providences that sustain me.  Above all, help me to remember your game changing move–your death and resurrection that put an end to sin’s power over me, to Satan’s free reign, and to death’s curse.  Praise and thank you, Lord, you have made me glad!  In your name I pray, Amen.

May 20 Life Interrupted

Photo by Nathan Ward

Photo by Nathan Ward

1 Samuel 26:1-28:25;  John 11:1-53;  Psalm 117:1-2;  Proverbs 15:22-23

“Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already  been in the tomb four days.  Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother.  So when Martha heard Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

* * * * *

“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”

* * * * *

“She said, “Yes Lord.  I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 11:17-27

* * * * *

When tears flow

and grief hangs

about my shoulders,

when a dear one’s life

on earth is interrupted,

Lord, may your resurrection

truth fill my heart

and bear me up.

May your peace direct

my eyes to you,

to the Lord of  earth and heaven

and my heart rejoice

that this life will resume;

that I will be reunited

with those I love and we’ll join

the heavenly choir

praising you and singing,

“Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come.

Worthy are you,

our Lord and God

to receive glory and

honor and power!

(Revelation 4:8,11)

O Lord, Martha believed your words about resurrection; of God’s power to raise the dead.  Little did she know that you were going to raise her brother that very day; she didn’t know you meant for her to feel his warm embrace and hear his voice in greeting again.  In our hour of grief, Lord,  help us to remember that we will one day hear our loved one’s voice and stand side by side praising you together in Heaven. Grant this Lord, for your name’s sake, Amen.

May 8 Sweet Is The Road

DSCF5410

Photo by Laura Jostes

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

“Walking in the midst of the fire.”

Daniel 3:25

The fire did not arrest their motion; they walked in the midst of it.  It was one of the streets through which they moved to their destiny.  The comfort of Christ’s revelation is not that it teaches emancipation from sorrow, but emancipation through sorrow.

O my God, teach me, when the shadows have gathered, that I am only in a tunnel.  It is enough for me to know that it will be all right some day.

They tell me that I shall stand upon the peaks of Olivet, the heights of resurrection glory.  But I want more, O my Father; I want Calvary to lead up to it.  I want to know the shadows of this world are the shades to an avenue–the avenue to the house of my Father.  Tell me I am only forced to climb them because Thy house is on the hill!  I shall receive no hurt from sorrow if I shall walk  in the midst of the fire.  ~George Matheson

“The road is too rough,” I said;

“It is uphill all the way;

No flowers, but thorns instead;

And the skies over head are grey.”

But One took my hand at the entrance dim,

And sweet is the road that I walk with Him.

* * * *

“The cross is too great,” I cried–

“More than the back can bear,

So rough and heavy and wide,

And nobody by to care.”

And One stooped softly and touched my hand:

“I know. I care.  And I understand.”

* * * * *

Then why do we fret and sigh;

Cross-bearers all we go;

But the road ends by-and-by

In the dearest place we know,

And every step in the journey we

May take in the Lord’s own company.

Lord, hand in hand we walk with you through sunny days and dark.  You have promised to never leaves us nor forsake us.  Your compassion comforts us and gives us strength to carry on.  Thank Lord God!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 13 When I Am Afraid

Image by Nathan Ward

Image by Nathan Ward

Numbers 19:1-20:29;  Luke 1:1-25;  Psalm 56:1-13;  Proverbs 11:8

“When I am afraid,

I will trust in you.

In God, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can mortal man do to me?”

Psalm 56:3-4

* * * * *

When my head hits the pillow

after day is done

thoughts hit me

 between the eyes

and keep me awake

as adrenaline

rushes

to the tips of my toes

taunting me

to rise

to do

one more thing.

Whose voice do I hear

saying,

“you’re not finished yet,

you must’nt sleep,

you’re not done.”

The enemy comes

to steal and destroy

and rob me of much

needed rest.

But, I will speak back

to the voice

and claim my King’s

voice

to “Come to me,

let me carry your burden

this night,

just rest in Me.”

I breathe deep

and listen to His

voice.

Peace closes my eyes,

ushers in a good night’s

sleep,

and gives me strength

for a new day.

* * * * *

“In God, whose word I praise,

in the Lord, whose word I praise–

in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can man do to me?”

Psalm 56:10-11

Lord God, in the quiet of the night fear steals into my mind to rob me, tempt me, distract me from your truth.  May your words come to me in the dark, in the deep place of my heart to chase away the lies.  May your word of truth fill me with hope, with rest, with peace.  Let me remember that you are my Shepherd and you lead me beside still waters; you restore my soul.  You give me sleep.  Thank you Lord, for hearing my prayer.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

March 11 Light Will Come Again

Photo by Megan Watson

Photo by Megan Watson

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

“Now after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now, therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people.”  Joshua 1:1-2

Sorrow came to you yesterday, and emptied your home.  Your first impulse now is to give up, and sit down in despair amid the wrecks of your hopes.  But you dare not do it.  You are in the line of battle, and the crisis is at hand.  To falter a moment would be to imperil some holy interest.  Other lives would be harmed by your pausing, holy interests would suffer, should your hands be folded.  You must not linger even to indulge your grief.

A distinguished general related this pathetic incident of his own experience in time of war.  The general’s son was a lieutenant of battery.  An assault was in progress.  The father was leading his division in a charge; as he pressed on in the field, suddenly his eye was caught by the sight of a dead battery-officer lying just before him.  One glance showed him it was his own son.  His fatherly impulse was to stop beside the loved form and give vent to his grief, but the duty of the moment demanded that he should press on in the charge;  so, quickly snatching one hot kiss from the dead lips, he hastened away, leading his command in the assault.

Weeping inconsolably beside a grave can never give back love’s banished treasure, nor can any blessing come out of such sadness.  Sorrow makes deep scars; it writes its record ineffaceably on the heart which suffers. We really never gt over our great griefs; we are never altogether the same after we have passed through them as we were before.  Yet there is a humanizing and fertilizing influence in sorrow which has been rightly accepted and cheerfully borne.  Indeed, they are poor who have never suffered, and have none of sorrow’s marks upon them.  The joy set before us should shine upon our griefs as the sun shines through the clouds, glorifying them.  God has so ordered, that in pressing on in duty we shall find the truest, richest comfort for ourselves.  Sitting down to brood over our sorrows, the darkness deepens about us and creeps into our heart, and our strength changes to weakness.  But, if we turn away from the gloom, and take up the tasks and duties to which God calls us, the light will come again, and we shall grow stronger.” ~ J.R. Miller

Lord God, thank you for being with us in even the darkest of nights–when we suffer the loss of a loved one so dear to us.  Remind us that the dark of Good Friday turned to the light of Easter Morn and for that we need not be lost in grief.  Give us strength even in sorrow to serve those around us and be willing to do the next thing–to the glory of your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

January 28 Comfort Straight Up

Photo by Sandara Lee

Photo by Sandara Lee

Exodus 5:22-7:24;  Matthew 18:23-19:12;  Psalm 23:1-6;  Proverbs 5:22-23

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall

not be in want.

He makes me lie down in

green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow

me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the

Lord forever.”

Psalm 23

* * * * *

Going for comfort when

my soul is sore

from being tossed about

by the cares of this world

leads me to Jesus

not to the glass that says

“Straight Up”

not to the book

of man’s wisdom,

not to endless activity

that leaves me numb,

just Jesus,

who comes to me

and soothes my spirit

with His truth,

His forgiveness,

His peace.

Lord God, just as David, the Psalm writer, expressed his confidence in the Good Shepherd, so we come to you acknowledging that Jesus is the source of all our comfort.  Please forgive us for the times when we have sought comfort outside the realm of faith.  Thank you for rescuing us from false sources of comfort.  Help us to share the Good News that we have received and believed in with those who need your comfort straight up.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

September 29 Monday’s Comfort And Call

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Isaiah 57:14-59:21;  Philippians 1:1-26;  Psalm 71:1-24;  Proverbs 24:9-10

“For this is what the high and lofty One says–

he who lives forever, whose name

is holy:

“I live in a high and holy place,

but also with him who is contrite

and lowly in spirit,

to revive the heart of the contrite.

I will not accuse forever,

nor will I always be angry,

for then the spirit of man would grow

faint before me–

the breath of man that I have created.

I was enraged by his sinful greed;

I punished him, and hid my face in

anger,

yet he kept on in his willful ways.

I have seen his ways, but I will

heal him;

I will guide him and restore comfort

to him,

creating praise on the lips of the

mourners of Israel.

Peace, peace, to those far and near,”

says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

Isaiah 57:15-19

Johann Scheffler penned the words to this hymn in the 1600s.  But it’s words resonate in me today.  I pray they speak words of comfort, hope and commitment to you as well:

“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.

~

“I am the light; I light the way,

A godly life displaying;

I help you walk as in the day;

I keep your feet from straying.

I am the way, and well I show

How you should journey here below.

~

“My heart is rich in lowliness;

My soul with love is glowing;

My lips the words of grace express,

Their tones all gently flowing.

My heart, my mind, my strength, my all

To God I yield; on Him I call.

~

“I teach you how to shun and flee

What harms your soul’s salvation;

Your heart from every guile to free,

From sin and its temptation.

I am the refuge of the soul

And lead you to your heav’nly goal.”

~

Then let us follow Christ, our Lord

And take the cross appointed

And, firmly clinging to his word,

In suff’ring be undaunted.

For those who bear the battle’s strain

The crown of heav’nly life obtain.

Lord God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ who bore the total weight of your anger over our sins as he hung on the Cross.  There, his blood was shed, your anger appeased, your glory made known.  And now, through faith in your Son’s work of salvation, you draw near to us–we who admit that we are sinful creatures and can do nothing of our own to merit this great gift of love and mercy.  Grant us your grace to live this day, to walk in your ways to the glory of your high and holy Name, Amen.