Trust

Bryan Switolski

“In God, my faithful God,

I trust when dark my road;

Great woes may overtake me,

Yet He will not forsake me.

My troubles He can alter;

His hand lets nothing falter.”

~Lutheran Service Book 745 vs. 1

 

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Who Is Like the Lord Our God?

photo by Seminary staff

“Praise the Lord!

Praise, O servants of the Lord,

praise the name of the Lord!

Blessed be the name of the Lord

from this time forth and forevermore!

From the rising of the sun to its setting,

the name of the Lord is to be praised!

The Lord is high above all nations,

and his glory above the heavens!

Who is like the Lord our God,

who is seated on high,

who looks down

on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap,

and makes them sit with princes,

with the princes of his people.

He gives the barren woman a home,

making her the joyous mother of children.

Praise the Lord!

Last night was graduation from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  I stood with my fellow graduates thankful for God’s faithfulness to all of us for seeing us through our seminary training–for me as a deaconess and the rest as future pastors.  We serve the Lord our God who does the impossible for the poor, the needy and the barren.   Just as we have been raised up and made to bear fruit by the power of the living God through the Holy Spirit we give thanks and praise to the Lord our God.  Who is like Him?

No one even comes close!

Lord God, thank you for the privilege of being called your servant.  Have mercy on me and grant me grace to faithfully serve and love others in Your most Holy Name.  For Jesus’ sake I pray, Amen.

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

No Place Too Far

Photo by Charl Christiani

Photo by Charl Christiani

Nehemiah’s Prayer

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.  I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house have committed against you.  We have acted very wickedly toward you.  We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

* * * * *

“Remember the instruction you gave  your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

* * * * *

“They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.  O Lord, let your ear be attentive to this prayer of his servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your  name.  Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

Nehemiah 1:5-11

Flung far from God by my own sins and prideful rebellion,

by my own willfulness and stubbornness,

my refusal to acknowledge Him

in all my ways

there is One

who humbles Himself before

His Father’s throne

and pleads on my behalf,

‘Father, forgive her.

I gave my life for her.

You raised me from the dead

so that I could intercede

for her and give her life.’

The ears of the Father tune in to His Son’s

request

and arms that are not so far off

embrace me,

enfold me

bid me come

to Him

to trust Him with all

that I have,

to clean up my mess,

and make me whole.

Lord God Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing me near to You through the sacrifice of your dear Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for listening to His intercessions on my behalf, for hearing His cries on the cross, ‘Father forgive them, forgive her.’  There is now nothing that can separate me from Your great love.  Lord, I pray for those today who feel that they are to far flung, to far gone, to beyond hope.  I pray that Your loving arms will reach out to them and comfort them with your words of forgiveness and hope.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

April 16 By Faith

Image by Marie Hagarty

Image by Marie Hagarty

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

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed.”  Hebrews 11:8

Whither he went, he knew not;  it was enough for him to know that he went with God.  He leant not so much upon the promises as upon the Promiser.  He looked not on the difficulties of his lot, but on the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, who had deigned to appoint his course, and would certainly vindicate Himself.  O glorious faith! This is thy work, these are thy possibilities; contentment to sail with sealed orders, because of unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; willinghood to rise up, leave all, and follow Christ, because of the glad assurance that earth’s best cannot bear comparison with heaven’s least. ~F.B. M.

It is by no means enough to set out cheerfully with your God on any venture of faith.  tear into smallest pieces any itinerary for the journey which your imagination may have drawn up.

Nothing will fall out as you expect.

Your guide will keep to no beaten path.  He will lead you by a way such as you never dreamed your eyes would look upon.  He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.

The day had gone; alone and weak

I groped my way within a bleak

And sunless land.

The path that led into the light

I could not find! In that dark night

God took my hand.

He led me that I might not stray,

And brought me by a new, safe way

I had not known.

By waters still, through pastures green

I followed Him–the path was clean

Of briar and stone.

The heavy darkness lost its strength,

My waiting eyes beheld at length

The streaking dawn.

On, safely on, through sunrise glow

I walked, my hand in His and lo,

The night had gone.

~ Annie Porter Johnson

March 26 Don’t Cry

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25;  Luke 7:11-35;  Psalm 68:19-35;  Proverbs 11:29-31

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,

who daily bears our burdens.

Our God is a God who saves;

from the Sovereign Lord

comes escape from death.”

Psalm 68:19-20

* * * * *

“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.  As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.  And a large crowd from the town was with her.  When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still.   He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

Luke 7:  11-35

* * * * *

“Don’t cry”

our Lord says

when impossible

troubles

impede our sight

and cloud our hearts

with doubts and fear.

“Don’t cry,

but trust.

I, who can raise the dead-

was raised from the dead-

see the weariness

 feel your pain

your struggle

your grief.

“Don’t cry,

but lean on me.

I live to give you

life.”

Lord God, nothing is impossible for you and because you live we too live with all the possibilities of heaven.  You know our every need, feel our every hurt, hear our every sigh.  You are as close as our heartbeat.  Lord, today we bring to you all our burdens and our cares.  We pray, Lord, that You will come to our aid, to shoulder our burdens, to help us get through this time.  Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to us and for hearing our prayer this day.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 5 True Courage

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  but you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 14:16-17

* * * * *

Christians can depend on nothing except Christ, their Lord and God.  For the sake of Christ, they surrender everything and declare, “Before I deny or leave my Christ, I will abandon food and drink, honor and possessions, house and property, spouse and child–everything.”  A Christian’s courage cannot be fake or weak.  It must be genuine and certain.  For Christians cannot encourage themselves with any temporary thing on this earth.  Instead, they cling only to the Lord Christ, who was crucified and died for us.  So Christ will say, as he promises in this passage, “Because you acknowledge me, you have this advantage and this comfort.  Your courage won’t mislead you, for your Helper is the Spirit of truth.”  All other courage comes from the father of lies–a false spirit that cannot please God.  But whatever Christians do, or suffer, for their faith in the Lord Christ is done for the truth.  They have done what is proper and right.  They can boast truthfully and joyfully what they have done is pleasing to God and the angels.  Christians can feel so confident that they don’t have to fear the devil, or the world.  They don’t have to be afraid of any threat or terror.

Let this encourage you, for nothing on earth can comfort you more during times of need than a confident heart.  As long as your heart is plagued with uncertainty and doubts, you cannot be courageous.  But if you live in truth, you can be sure that any suffering you experience isn’t caused by you own sin.  You’re not suffering because you tried to attain possessions, honor, or praise for yourself.  The only charge against you is that you believe in the Lord Christ and trust in his Word.

Devotion taken from Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, by Martin Luther

Lord God, thank you for sending the Counselor–the Holy Spirit– to guide us into all truth and to keep us in the one true faith.  Thank you for the strength and meaning and purpose that you’ve given us via the Cross of Christ and His sacrifice for our sins.  May we always look to Him and stand firm.  In His name we pray, Amen.