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

 

Walked the Road

photo by Jennifer Cabrera

O Christ, You walked the road our wandr’ing feet must go.  You faced with us temptations power and fought our ancient foe.

No bread of earth alone can fill our hung’ring hearts.  Lord, help us seek Your living Word, the food Your grace imparts.

No blinding sign we ask, no wonder from above.  Lord, help us place our trust alone in Your unswerving love.

When lures of easy gain with promise brightly shine, Lord, help us seek Your kingdom first; our will with Yours align.

O Christ, You walked the road our wand’ring feet must go.  Stay with us through temptation’s hour to fight our ancient foe.

Hymn text by Herman Stuempfle, Jr. 1923-2007

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.  No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will  be able to endure it.  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-14.

One

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In Adam we have all been one,

One huge rebellious man;

We all have fled that Evening Voice

That sought us as we ran.

 

We fled Thee and in losing Thee

We lost our brother too;

Each singly claimed and sought his own;

Each one his brother slew.

 

But Thy Strong love, it sought us still

And sent us Thine only Son

That we might hear His Shepherd’s voice

And, hearing Him, be one.

 

O Thou who, when we loved Thee not,

Didst love and save us all,

Thou great Good Shepherd of mankind,

O hear us when we call.

 

Send us Thy Spirit, teach us truth;

Thou Son, O set us free

From fancied wisdom, self-sought ways,

To make us one in Thee.

 

Then shall our song united rise

To Thine eternal throne,

Where with the Father evermore

And Spirit Thou art One.

Amen.

Hymn text by Martin H. Franzmann

 

What the world needs now is…to know the great love of God who sent His only Son to redeem sinful man and restore us to Himself and to one another.  Let that be our prayer today!

God bless your day!

LJ

Like A Little Child

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Therefore it is for the children. The child is small and knows he is small (that is all that Jesus singles out in the child; He says nothing of his innocence, loveliness, or charm); the child is always looking up to persons greater than he; he cannot ever forget how small he is, and he has not yet learned to deceive himself into the belief that he is as big as anybody. The child receives. Children are the world’s best askers and beggars; they are the world’s best accepters of gifts and receivers of presents. – The finest characterization of our Lutheran Confessions is Schlink’s, who says that they breathe the air of child’s delight at having received a gift. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Humble himself” – a child does not make himself smaller than he is; he knows how small he actually is. That is why turning, being converted, is a turning to childhood. That is why greatness comes to the childlike. The emptiest receives most; only he will be great for whom “greatness” has lost all meaning, for whom only God is great, as only God is good. God is Creator, and he works ex nihilo. He puts Himself into selfless lives; He pours the wine of His gladness into empty cups; He fills empty hands; He justifies the ungodly and raises the dead. When the brazen idol of our greatness has melted before the blaze of God’s greatness and lies a little pool to reflect God’s glory and the glory of our lord Jesus Christ, then we shall have begun to be Christians, then we have become at least apprentice theologians.” ~Martin Franzmann

Lord God, from whom all blessings flow and fill us with undeserved goodness, mercy and love, we give you thanks and praise. As we begin this week may we remember the goodness that flowed from your Son’s pierced side, the mercy extended to all mankind, and the everlasting love spoken “Forgive them.”  May we walk as your beloved children and be found faithful in all that we do and say to the glory of Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Just One

Image by Marian Trinidad

Image by Marian Trinidad

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.

There are different kinds of working, but the same God

works all of them in all men.”

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

* * * * *

Why did St. Paul need to write this to the Christian Corinthians– a Trinitarian reminder that Father, Son and Spirit gift, serve and work in various ways, but  are united–One God?

It’s because they were so divided, hung up on the differences, choosing sides, not seeing themselves as one body of believers with Christ as the Head.  They squabbled over which teacher was the best, what spiritual gift ranked highest, and scrambled for the best seat during mealtimes.  

What a pathetic image this group of Christians made–they who called themselves Christ followers.

But, ouch!

These words of St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have endured and reach their mark in my own heart today. They powerfully drive me to my knees where I cry, “Father, forgive me for my own participation in taking sides, pulling rank, and scrambling for status before men.”

And, thankfully, the same grace extended to the Corinthians is the same grace that God extends to me–“You are forgiven, for Jesus’ sake!”

Lord God, thank you for showing us that even as You are united–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–we believers can be united in the one true faith to serve, work, and gift others with your love and mercy.  Help us to always keep our eyes on Jesus–the author and perfecter of our faith.  In His name we pray, Amen.

God-Affirmer

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Count yourself lucky,

how happy you must be–

you get a fresh start,

your slate wiped clean.

Count yourself lucky–

God holds nothing against you

and you’re holding nothing back from him.

When I kept it all inside,

my bones turned to powder,

my words became day long groans.

The pressure never let up;

all the juices of my life dried up.

Then I let it all out;

I said,

“I’ll make a clean break of my failures to God.”

Suddenly, the pressure was gone.

Everyone of us needs to pray;

when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts

we’re on high ground, untouched.

God’s my island hideaway,

keeps danger far from the shore,

throws garlands of hosannas

around my neck.

Let me give you some good advice;

I’m looking you in the eye

and giving it to you straight:

“Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule

that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.”

God-defilers are always in trouble;

God-affirmers find themselves

loved every time they turn around.

Celebrate God.

Sing together everyone

All you hones, hearts,

raise the roof!”

Psalm 32

~Paraphrased by Eugene Peterson

in The Message

Lord God, because of the gracious work of Christ on the Cross and the gift of faith you have made me a God-affirmer.  By the power of the Holy Spirit I can acknowledge you as Lord of my life.  When my sins wear me down, I can come to you freely, confess them, and receive your unburdening forgiveness.  I can shout Hallelujah, Praise You God!  Thank you for your “island” security and your promise to never leave me alone.  I love you!  Amen.