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

 

Refuge

Kyle Wright cross

Image by Kyle Wright

Jesus, refuge of the weary, blest Redeemer whom we love, fountain in life’s desert dreary, Savior from the world above:  Often have Your eyes, offended, gazed upon the sinner’s fall; yet upon the cross extended, You have borne the pain of all.

Do we pass that cross unheeding, breathing no repentant vow, though we see You wounded, bleeding, see Your thorn encircled brow?  Yet Your sinless death has brought us life eternal, peace and rest; only what Your grace has taught us calms the sinner’s deep distress.

Jesus, may our hearts be burning with more fervent love for You; may our eyes be ever turning to behold Your cross anew till in glory, parted never from the blessed Savior’s side, graven in our hearts forever, dwell the cross, the Crucified.

Hymn text by Girolamo Savonarola, 1452-98

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”  Jeremiah 31:25

 

Jesus, Refuge of the Weary

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Laura Jostes

Jesus, refuge of the weary, blest Redeemer whom we love, Fountain in life’s desert dreary, Savior from the world above;  Often have Your eye, offended, gazed upon the sinner’s fall;  Yet upon the cross extended, You have borne the pain of all.

Do we pass that cross unheeding, breathing no repentant vow, though we see You wounded bleeding, see Your thorn-encrircled brow?  Yet Your sinless death has brought us life eternal, peace and rest;  only what Your grace has taught us calms the sinner’s deep distress.

Jesus, may our hearts be burning with more fervent love for you; may our eyes be ever turning to behold Your cross anew till in glory, parted never from the blessed Savior’s side, graven in our hearts forever, dwell the cross, the Crucified.

Hymn text by Girolamo Savonarola, 1452-98

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12

Red White Blue

Flag Yvonne Harrison

Photo by Yvonne Harrison

Country lost in red white and blue

Too many walking in shades of gray to notice colors bright

Beckoning eyes to see beyond hatred

And prejudice

To see in those around them

those whom God has created.

Country lost in red white and blue

Desperately seeking peace

In the promises of men

Who stand before them

As answers to empty pockets and empty souls.

Country lost in red white and blue

Look to the One

Who alone provides for sparrows as well as kings.

Whose Wisdom reaches down from Heaven

Whose love and mercy never end.

Country lost in red white and blue

See the Cross where the Savior bled

And appeared abandoned by one and all.

The weak resignation

Belied the power wherein

The Son of God battled with sin and death and the evil one

And won

Freedom for the red white and blue

For all who believe that “greater is He who is within us

Than he who is in the world.”

Our God reigns

No matter the color of the flag

No matter the left or the right

No matter whether you believe or not

Our God reigns

And will keep the world spinning until

He comes again.

L.J.

“His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.”

Psalm 147:10-11

April 28 Who’s In Charge?

Image by Kyle Wright

Image by Kyle Wright

Judges 8:18-19:21;  Luke 23:44-24:12;  Psalm 99:1-9;  Proverbs 14:9-10

“The Lord reigns,

let the nations tremble;

he sites enthroned between the cherubim,

let the earth shake.

Great is the Lord in Zion;

he is exalted over all the nations.

Let them praise your great and

awesome name–

He is holy.”

Psalm 99:1-3

* * * * *

The Lord looks down from

Heaven

and sees

the brokenness of our world,

Broken buildings,

broken cities,

broken hearts,

broken justice systems,

broken families,

broken bodies,

broken minds.

Is He aloof?

Does He not care?

And yet the Psalmist

confidently writes,

“The Lord reigns.”

He IS in charge.

“His love endures forever.”

His Son broke

on the Cross

for our broken world,

our broken promises,

our broken obedience,

our broken devotion

and by His Resurrected Life

He mends,

forgives,

restores,

makes new.

Even in the midst

of earthly disasters,

disruptions,

sorrows and pains,

He comforts us with

His love and Compassion.

* * * *

“And after you have suffered a little while,

the God of all grace,
who has called you to his

eternal glory in Christ,

will himself restore,

confirm, strengthen,

and establish you.

To Him be the dominion forever

and ever.  Amen”

1 Peter 5:10

Lord God,  we pray to you as our God who reigns and ask for mercy upon those suffering the devastating loss of life in Nepal.  We pray for those who grieve the loss of the Baltimore man who died needlessly from his arrest.  We pray for those who feel helpless, angry, and hopeless in light of these tragedies.  Please have mercy on and comfort all these people.  May they find Hope in You and strength for the day.  We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 11 To Follow Jesus

Photo by Julie Ayers

Photo by Julie Ayers

Joshua 3:1-4:24;  Luke 14:7-35;  Psalm 80:1-19;  Proverbs 5:1-7:15

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

* * * * *

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?  For it he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

* * * * *

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king.  Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be by disciple.”

Luke 14:25-33

* * * * *

Jesus asks for the impossible.

Hate others to follow him?

Hate my own life to follow him?

Carry a cross, a death sentence

to follow him?

Give up everything that is precious

and dear,

of great worth to me

to follow him?

* * * * *

Jesus knows a bit about giving

up things dear to him–

Jesus, “who, although He existed in the form

of God, did not regard equality with God

a thing to be grasped,

but emptied Himself,

taking on the form of a bond-servant

and being made in the likeness of men.

And being found in appearance as a man,

He humbled Himself by becoming obedient

to the point of death,

even death on a cross.

Therefore, God has highly exalted Him,

and bestowed on Him the name which

is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:6-11

* * * **

Because Jesus took up the cross to fulfill

his mission of redeeming mankind

we are now able through faith

to do the same,

to carry our cross

to the glory of our Lord

Jesus Christ!

Lord God, you call us to follow you and you provides the means to do so–our faith.  Thank you for this precious gift that fills our hearts with gratitude and with the desire to follow you no matter what the cost.  Thank you for enabling us through the power of Your Word and the Holy Spirit to say no to things of this world and to say yes to the things that mean the most to you–loving you and loving one another.  Praising you with Easter joy!  Amen.

February 13 Sprung To Life

Image by Michael Hickman

Image by Michael Hickman

Exodus 35:10-36:38;  Matthew 27:32-66;  Psalm 34:1-10;  Proverbs 9:7-8

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two

from top to bottom.  The earth shook and the rocks split.

The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people

who had died were raised to life.  They came

out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection

they went to the holy city and

appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him

who were guarding Jesus saw

the earthquake and all that had happened

they were terrified, and exclaimed,

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:50-54

* * * * *

The earth quaked

darkness reigned

but some near

Jesus

saw the light–

“Surely he was the Son of God!”

Sometimes it takes

a shaking of our world

our aloneness

our being in the dark

before the Light comes to us

and we realize

Jesus IS who he says

He is,

the Son of God

who reigns

over the darkness

who draws near to us

with His love,

His assurance

that we are

not lost.

“I sought the Lord,

and He answered me;

he delivered me from

all my fears.

Those who look to him

are radiant.

Their faces are never

covered with shame.”

Psalm 34:4-5

He has sprung us

from our spiritual graves.

Lord God,  Blessed are you who comes to us in our darkness and spreads your glorious light.  Holy are you who stoops to touch us with your love and grace.  Gracious are you who rescues us from our spiritual prisons by the blood of the Lamb on the Cross.  Blessed are you, O Lord and most worthy of our praise!