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!

I Am Content

I am content!  My Jesus ever lives, in whom my heart is pleased.  He has fulfilled the Law of God for me, God’s wrath He has appeased.  Since He in death could perish never, I also shall not die forever.  I am content!  I am content!

I am content!  My Jesus is my head;  His member I shall be.  He bowed His head when on the cross He died with cries of agony.  Now death is brought into subjection for me by Jesus’ resurrection.  I am content!  I am content!

I am content!  My Jesus is my light, my radiant sun of grace.  His cheering rays beam blessings forth for all, sweet comfort, hope and peace.  This Easter sun has brought salvation and everlasting exultation.  I am content!  I am content!

I am content!  At length I shall be free, awakened from the dead, arising glorious evermore to be with You, my living head.  The chains that hold my body, sever;  Then shall my soul rejoice forever.  I am content!  I am content!

Hymn text by Johann J. Moller, 1600-1733

“And He [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”  Luke 24:46-47

A New Song

“O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.  The Lord has made known His salvation;  He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.  He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;  All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.  Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.  With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.  Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.”  Psalm 98

Yesterday we celebrated the joy of Easter’s truth, “He is risen, just as He said!”   When you meet challenges, experience conflict, suffer illness and disease remember, “He is risen, just as He said!”  Jesus fulfilled God’s promise to save, to redeem us from certain death because of our sins that separated us from Him.  Jesus did this by dying on the Cross and bearing the guilt of all our sins.  His Resurrection broke the power of sin, death and Satan over us.  “He is risen, just as He said!”  The Psalmist invites us to sing and shout “because He has done wonderful things!”  And so we do, today and everyday!

These Forty Days

Matt Gruber Trees

O Lord, throughout these forty days You prayed and kept the fast;

Inspire repentance for our sin, and free us from the past.

You strove with Satan and You won;  Your faithfulness endured;

Lend us Your nerve, Your skill and trust in God’s eternal Word.

Though parched and hungry, yet You prayed and fixed Your mind above;

So teach us to deny ourselves, since we have known God’s love.

Be with us through this season, Lord, and all our earthly days,

That when the final Easter dawns, we join in heaven’s praise.

(Claudia Hernaman, 1838-98)

“O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, and your righteousness to the upright in heart.  Let not the foot of pride come upon me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.”  Psalm 36: 10-11

 

 

 

April 9 Weights And Wings

Shutterstock cogs and wheels

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

“All these things are against me.” Genesis 42:36

“All things work together for good to them that love God.”

Romans 8:28

Many people are wanting power.  Now how is power produced?  The other day we passed the great works where the trolley engines are supplied with electricity.  We hear the hum and roar of the countless wheels, and we asked our friend, “How do they make the power?”

“Why,” he said, “just by the revolution of those wheels and the friction they produce.  The rubbing creates the electric current.”

And so, when God wants to bring more power into your life, He brings more pressure.  He is generating spiritual force by hard rubbing.  Some do not like it and try to run away from the pressure, instead of getting the power and using it to rise above the painful causes.

Opposition is essential to a true equilibrium of forces.  The centripetal and centrifugal forces acting in opposition to each other keep our planet in her orbit.  The one propelling, and the other repelling, so act and react, that instead of sweeping off into space in a pathway of desolation, she pursues her even orbit around her solar center.

So God guides our lives.  It is not enough to have an impelling force–we need just as much a repelling force, and so He holds us back by the testing ordeals of life, by the pressure of temptation and trial, by the things that seem against us, but really are furthering our way and establishing our goings.

Let us thank Him for both, let us take the weights as well as the wings, and thus divinely impelled, let us press on with faith and patience in our high and heavenly calling. ~ A.B. Simpson.

In a wild confusion in a seeming chaos,

Lifting, pushing, driving–but they do their work.

From the mightiest lever to the tiniest pinion,

All things move together for the purpose planned;

And behind the working is a mind controlling,

And a force directing, and a guiding hand.

* * * * *

So all things are working for the Lord’s beloved;

Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;

Some might seem to hind; some might draw us backward;

But they work together, and they work for good,

All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,

All the contradictions, hard to understand.

And the forces that hold them, speeds them

and retards them,

Stops and starts and guides them–

is our Father’s hand.

~Annie Johnson Flint

Lord God, we thank you that all things work together for the good of those who love you.  You do not abandon us during the trials and temptations that come our way.  You gave us the supreme example in your Son Jesus Christ,  who experienced greater griefs than we’ll ever know.  You strengthened him and helped him complete his mission on this earth–to suffer and die for the sins of all mankind.  You raised him from the dead and because of that Easter reality we have hope;  we, too, can persevere, be made strong to face the challenges before us.  Thank you Lord, for your ever guiding hand.  In Jesus’ name we praise and give thanks, Amen.

April 7 Remember Easter!

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27;  Luke 12:8-34;  Psalm 78:32-55;  Proverbs 12:21-23

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!

* * * * *

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

* * * * *

“Consider how the lilies grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the filed, which is here to day and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

* * * * *

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink;  do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Luke 12:22-31

* * * * *

Jesus, you bought the kingdom for us

with your own precious blood

We remember Easter

and we give you

thanks!

It’s another new week

and lest we begin to worry and fret

about bills and such

let us remember Easter

and give you thanks!

Lord God, we give you thanks and praise for the Easter news that spreads through us –“He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Allelujah!”  News that feeds our souls and clothes us the white robes of righteousness.   We are dressed.  We are fed.  We are loved.  Thank you, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 22 Two Small Coins

Image

Photo by Royce Bair

Joshua 24:1-33;  Luke 21:1-28;  Psalm 89:38-52;  Proverbs 13:20-23

She fingered the two small coins in her hands.  They were all she had left from collecting scraps of wood to sell.

Her stomach growled.

She was at peace.  Hearing Jesus’ words had filled her heart till she felt she would burst–such joy knowing that He cared for her–for all people.

And when he spoke of the kingdom of God being like a teeny tiny mustard seed that would grow large enough to house birds, she knew she could trust Him to take care of her.

As she dropped her coins into the collection box, they barely made sound compared to the clanking of gold and silver coins that followed.

But, Jesus heard.

“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave gifts out of their wealth;  but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”  Luke 21:3-4

Lord God, you want  my all–whatever it might be.  Forgive me for holding on tightly to my time, my money, my talents for fear of running out.  Forgive me for not trusting you enough to live on the edge.  Increase my faith, O Lord, so that I may open wide my hands to give you all of me.  Basking in the glow of Easter joy, may I remember You gave Your all for all people for all time.  Praising you Lord of Lord and King of Kings!  Amen.

April 21 Calvary Love

Image

Image by Kevin Carden

Joshua 22:21-23:16;  Luke 20:27-47;  Psalm 89;  Proverbs 13:17-19

“I will sing of the Lord’s great love

forever;

with my mouth I will make your faithfulness

known through all generations.

I will declare that your love

stands firm forever,

that you established your faithfulness

in heaven itself.

Righteousness and justice are

the foundation of your throne;

love and faithfulness go before you.

Blessed are those who have learned

to acclaim you,

who walk in the light of your

presence, O Lord.

They rejoice in your name all day long;

they exult in your righteousness.

For you are their glory and strength.

Once you spoke in a vision,

to your faithful people you said:

“I have bestowed strength on

a warrior;

I have exalted a young man from

among the people.

My hand will sustain him,

surely my arm will strengthen him.

He will call out to me, ‘You are

my Father,

my God, the Rock my Savior.’

I will also appoint him my firstborn,

the most exalted of the kings

of the earth.

I will maintain my love to him forever,

and my covenant with him will

never fail.

I will establish his line forever,

his throne as long as the

heavens endure.”

Selected verse from Psalm 89

O Most Holy God, we have celebrated the greatest battle defeat of all time–once and for all Christ took the power away from sin, death and Satan over our lives.  His resurrection from the dead opened Heaven’s door for all who believe on His name.  We rejoice in His victory and give you all glory, thanks and praise!  Thank you for this Calvary Love which sustains us in our weakness and gives us strength to live for you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Easter triumph, Easter joy!

This alone can sin destroy;

From sins’ power, Lord, set us free,

Newborn souls in you to be.

Alleluia!

 

April 5 Success Formula

Deuteronomy 28:1-68;  Luke 11:14-36;  Psalm 77:1-20; Proverbs 12:18

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nation on earth.”  Deut. 28:1

“The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity.”  28:11

“The Lord will make you the head and not the tail.  If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.”  28:13

What a formula for success!  Follow God’s ways 100%–Receive 100% of his blessings!

If not–be prepared to suffer–big time:  “However, if you do not obey your God and do not carefully follow all his commands all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…diseases…scorching heat…mildew…will cause you to be defeated before your enemies…boils, madness, blindness, confusion of mind…you will be unsuccessful in everything you do.”  28:15-29, selected parts

God truly wanted to bless his people and provide them the best.  He also knew it would be impossible for them to be 100% for him 100% of the time.

God did have another formula for success in mind.

He would send his only Son, Jesus, to live the 100% perfect life–for us.

We celebrated earlier this week the success of God’s formula– a perfect sacrifice given for our sins–a perfect Savior defeated death, sin and the devil on the Cross–the Risen Lord–100% alive–for us!

Am I thankful for God’s laws and commands?  You bet!  They show me God’s demand for perfection and holiness;  they show me my total inability to live a perfect life;  they show me how much I needed Jesus to live a perfect life in my stead and to pay the price for my disobedience;  they point me to Jesus ‘the author and perfecter of my faith.’

This Easter week we celebrate God’s formula for Success:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

100% forgiven!

100% life without end!

That’s success!

Lord God,  I continue to rejoice in Easter’s message of full forgiveness and new life through my Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  Thank you for showing us a life lived 100% for you–how he loved you and was obedient–how he loved us so much that he suffered greatly for us, so that we would never have to be separated from you.

Thank you for saving us from the curses of sin and death and for the immeasurable riches and blessings that we have through your son, Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray, Amen.

“I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God are holy.

What god is so great as our God?”    Psalm 77:12-13

 

April 1 Tell Me What To Do

Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20;  Luke 9:28-50;  Psalm 73:1-28;  Proverbs 12:8-9

When you go to war against your enemies, and you see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you.”  Deuteronomy 20:1

Are you staring at a pile of bills that keeps growing while hearing office talk about possible downsizing?

“Do not be fainthearted or afraid.”  Deut. 20:3

Are you faced with a troubled son or daughter? (maybe you are the troubled son or daughter)

“Do not be terrified.”  vs. 3

Have no clue about what to do with your life and decision time looms?

“Do not give way to panic before them.” vs. 3

When doubts and fears about the future paralyze you, or guilt and condemnation of past failures drag you down remember:  “The Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your ‘enemies’ to give you the victory.”  Deut. 20:4

Yesterday we celebrated Easter and Christ’s triumphant victory over sin, death and Satan.  He has conquored our enemies.  He has the power to still the fears in our hearts regarding the daily battles we face as well. 

He has triumphed!

So will we.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

Lord God,  thank you for reminding us in your word that You have gone before us and won the most important battle of all–you conquored sin and its power over us.  We do not deserve such mercy.  We thank and praise you for what Christ our Lord has done for us–for all people.

Grant that we may live our lives today in joyful gratitude and service.  And entrust to you the daily struggles of this life, knowing that you will indeed ‘give us this day our daily bread’  and will walk alongside us.  We thank you in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 “Yet I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:23-26