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.

 

 

Mary

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And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”  Luke 1: 46-55
Lord God,

I’m just Mary.

All of my life I’ve listened to stories

of Your miraculous “right arm”

–battles won, babies born to barren women,

seas parted, sick people healed,

the dead brought back to life.

Pondering them fanned my hope

that You are still with my people,

that you still love us and have not forgotten us.

You have not forgotten!

I don’t know what lies ahead,

but I know that You will be with me,

just Mary,

your bondservant,

forever.

To You I give all my thanks and praise.

Amen.

We remember Mary, the mother of God and give thanks for the miracle of motherhood that came to her– a virgin– chosen and blessed.

Joy

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You put me on the stretch, O God.

You do me the honor of putting me to the test

as You once tested our Father Abraham.

You bid me do the impossible:

not only to endure

the tempering heat of trial

but to rejoice in it–impossible!

 

But Your Son did not find it impossible

when You tried Him with failure.

He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit

and gave thanks to You

when You took from Him

the wise and understanding

and revealed Him only to babes,

to the inconsequential little ones

in whom Your love delights.

 

Your servant Paul found it possible.

Your servant James found it possible.

And You are my Father just as You are theirs.

I thank You for all proofs of Fatherhood.

I thank You for the trials I meet.

Give me the heart to meet them unafraid,

to joy in them as I rejoice in You.  Amen.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy

 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Remembering on this day the trials that began in New York 15 years ago….

 

 

 

 

Steady

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Psalm 40:1-5

 I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path, and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in him.

 Many blessings are given to those who trust the Lord and have no confidence in those who are proud or who trust in idols.

 O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord God, many are the cries for help that are rising to you this day.  Cries from Italy.  Cries from Louisiana.  Cries from hospitals.  Cries from the lonely in their homes.  Lord, have mercy.  Hear our prayers for Jesus’ sake and come to our aid that we might in turn tell of the wondrous ways that you have delivered us.  We give you praise for saving us from the deep pit of sin through your Son Jesus Christ who gave His life for us.  You have set our feet firm on the Rock of our salvation through faith.  Steady us as we go through this day.  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 22 Even Though…Yet Will I Trust Him

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

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

“He knoweth the way that I take.”  Job 23:10

Believer!  What a glorious assurance!  This way of thine—this, it may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way—this way of trial and tears.  “He knoweth it.”  The furnace seven times heated–He lighted it.  There is an almighty Guide knowing and directing our footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy and refreshment in Him.

That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and fire for His own Israel.  The furnace is hot; but not only can we trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that when the refining process is completed (no sooner–no later) He brings His people forth as gold.

When they think Him least near, He is often nearest.  “When my spirit was overwhelmed, then thou knew my path.”

Do we know of One brighter than the brightest radiance of the visible sun, visiting our chamber with the first waking beam of the morning; an eye of infinite tenderness and compassion following us throughout the day, knowing the way that we take?

The world, in its cold vocabulary in the hour of adversity, speaks of “Providence“–“the will of Providence–“the strokes of Providence.”  Providence!  What is that?

Why dethrone a living, directing God from the sovereignty of His own earth?  Why substitute an inanimate, deathlike abstraction, in place of an acting, controlling, personal Jehovah?

How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see what Job saw (in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly hope lay prostrate at his feet)–no hand but the divine.  He saw that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans–he saw it behind the lightning flash–he saw it giving wings to the careening tempest–he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled home.

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;  blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Thus, seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of ashes, could say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”   ~ Macduff

Lord God, On this side of Heaven we encounter trials of all kinds.  We may be experiencing a “goading” trial right at this very moment.  And in this very moment, you are with us.  Thank you for your faithful presence, comfort and strength.  Grant us grace to live out this day by faith and before we close our eyes this night may we say, “blessed be the name of the Lord!”  May we give thanks for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who endured the greatest trials for us so that we may always have hope.  In His dear name we pray, Amen.