Hope

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Hope of the world, Thou Christ of great compassion;  speak to our fearful hearts by conflict rent.  Save us, Thy people, from consuming passion, Who by our own false hope and aims are spent.

Hope of the world, God’s gift from highest heaven, bringing to hungry souls the bread of life, still let thy Spirit unto us be given to heal earth’s wounds and end our bitter strife.

Hope of the world, afoot on dusty highways, showing to wand’ring souls the path of light, walk Thou beside us lest the tempting byways lure us away from Thee to endless night.

Hope of the world, who by thy cross didst save us from death and dark despair, from sin and guilt, we render back the love thy mercy gave us; take thou our lives and use them as thou wilt.

Hope of the world, O Christ, o’er death victorious, who by this sign didst conquer grief and pain, we would be faithful to thy Gospel glorious.  Thou art our Lord!  Thou dost forever reign

~ Hymn by Georia Harkness, 1891-1974

Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Hope through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  In His name we 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

 

 

 

April 8 Ready Or Not

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Deuteronomy 32:28-52;  Luke 12:35-59;  Psalm 78:56-64;  Proverbs 12:24

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.  I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.  But understand this:  If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

* * * * *

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.  I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.”

Luke 12:35-41

* * * * *

Hmmmmmmm…

Lord? You didn’t answer my question.

Is this story meant for me?

Or is it meant for everyone?

“Peter, Peter

are you listening

really listening to me

or are you thinking

about your own status

as my disciple?

Thinking that you are already

ready because

you are with me.

All those that are called by my

name

must remain vigilant,

ever ready

for my return.

And I will come again!

Live each day as if it

were your last

stand strong in the faith

have my Word on your lips

Be ready.”

Lord God,  let us not be found slacking in our waiting for your return.  Gird us with your Word and Spirit.  Keep us strong in our faith.  And keep us busy sharing the Good News with those around us.  For that is why you have yet to return–there are many who have yet to hear the Gospel.  We long for your return, O Lord, but we also long to have everyone saved and brought into your Kingdom.  Grant us perseverance and steadfast love, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

February 2 The Desert Blues

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Exodus 15:19-17:7;  Matthew 22:1-33;  Psalm 27:1-6;  Proverbs 6:20-26

Physically free,

but spiritually not

the former slaves of Egypt

now walked the desert miles

hungering, thirsting–

and complaining.

* * * * *

God heard their cries–

their loud laments,

“if only were were back in Egypt

we’d have leeks with our meat!”

In His mercy and remembering

His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

His hand fed them food from heaven:

manna by day

meat by night.

God cleansed the bitter waters.

He promised them disease free days

IF

they “would carefully listen to his voice

and do what is right in his eyes,

IF

“they obeyed his commands

and kept all his decrees.

For I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Exodus 15:25-26

If only God’s people would put their trust

in Him.

If only God’s people would give thanks

for his goodness to them,

for providing for food and drink.

If only God’s people would just stop

looking at themselves

and their lack.

If only God’s people would listen

and believe

and look up.

Lord God, if I were one of the wandering Israelites I know I would have been no different (even though I’d like to think I would have had more faith).  My human flesh would have cried out and I would have complained.  I know this because I am guilty of doing the same–and I’m not even wandering in a desert!  But my heart often finds itself in the spiritual desert and I doubt you.  I fail to look to you as my Sole Savior.  Forgive me, Lord, for not trusting you with my whole heart;  for doubting the truth of your Salvation message–that because of Jesus’s death on the Cross, all of my sins are forgiven.  I’ve been set free.  Send your Holy Spirit to fill the desert places in my heart that I may praise you and give you thanks for all your gifts pertaining to life here and life forever with you in heaven.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“One thing I ask of the Lord,

this is what I seek;

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon

the beauty of the Lord

and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble

he will keep me safe in his dwelling.

He will hide me in the shelter

of his tabernacle

and set me high upon a rock.”

Psalm 27:4-5

January 29 All Things Are Possible

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Exodus 7:25-9:35;  Matthew 19:13-30;  Psalm 24:1-10;  Proverbs 6:1-5

“And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:23-26

* * * * *

Yes!

With all God all things are possible.

Like turning hearts of stone

into hearts aflame,

aglow

with the Spirit

who makes all things new.

* * * *
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

* * * *

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17

Lord God, thank you for piercing my heart with your living word which worked faith in a heart once dead to your goodness and grace.  I pray that the same power of your Word  work wonders in the hearts of those who are yet in darkness.  Bless the lips of those who speak Your Word and faithfully proclaim your truth.  May the ears hearing your words receive them and not turn away from your Gift of Grace in Jesus Christ who won for them the forgiveness of all their sins.  I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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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.

January 15 Sending Words

Image by Collette Varanouskas

Image by Collette Varanouskas

Genesis 31:17-32:12;  Matthew 10:26-11:6;  Psalm 13:1-6;  Proverbs 3:16-18

“So do not be afraid of them.  There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight;  what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are numbered.  So, don’t be afraid;  you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:26-31

* * * * *

Child of mine

I send you forth

my message to proclaim.

What I speak to you behind closed doors,

in the quiet of the morn

proclaim aloud with no restraint,

hold nothing back–

I’ve got your back.

* * * *

Child of mine

as you go forth

my message to proclaim

not everyone will listen,

some hearts will grow cold

and hard.

You may be hurt,

your body destroyed,

yet faith keeps you

alive in Me.

Nothing can separate you from

my love.

So fear not,

fear not,

fear not–

you mean the world to me.

Lord Jesus, you sent your disciples into the mission field with three “fear nots”.  You knew they would be afraid because you knew the enemy they were up against.  You send us forth with three strong fear nots, for we too face the world, the devil and our own flesh with fear and trepidation. Help us to remember that your have conquered our foes on the Cross and that one day the final judgement will come.  Keep us firm in our faith and determined to share the Gospel message no matter what the cost.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.