Awake!

Awake O sleeper, rise from death, and Christ shall give you light;  So learn His love, its length and breadth, its fullness, depth and height.

To us on earth He came to bring from sin and  fear release, to give the Spirit’s unity, the very bond of peace.

Then walk in love as Christ has loved, Who died that He might save;  with kind and gentle hearts forgive as God in Christ forgave.

For us Christ lived, for us He died, and conquered in the strife;  awake, arise, go forth in faith, and Christ shall give you life.  ~ hymn by F. B. Tucker

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15-16

Lord God, as we anticipate celebrating Independence Day in America may we remember the greater freedom won for us through Jesus Christ on the Cross.  We are both citizens of heaven and earth so we thank you for the gift of freedoms allowed to us under the Constitution.  Bless all the lawmakers and lawkeepers of this land that we might live in peace.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus

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Let us ever walk with Jesus, follow His example pure, through a world that would deceive us and to sin our spirits lure.  Onward in His footsteps treading, pilgrims here, our home above, full of faith and hope and love, let us do the Father’s bidding.  Faithful Lord, with me abide;  I shall follow where You guide.

Let us suffer here with Jesus and with patience bear our cross.  Joy will follow all our sadness;  where He is, there is no loss.  Though today we sow no laughter, we shall reap celestial joy;  all discomforts that annoy shall give way to mirth and hereafter.  Jesus, here I share Your woe;  help me there Your joy to know.

Let us gladly die with Jesus.  Since by His death He conquered death, He will free us from destruction, give to us immortal breath.  Let us mortify all passion that would lead us into sin;  and the grave that shuts us in shall but prove the gate to heaven.  Jesus, here with You I die, there to live with You on high.

Let us also live with Jesus.  He has risen from the dead that to life we may awaken.  Jesus You are now our head.  We are Your own living members; where You live, there we shall be in Your presence constantly, living there with You forever.  Jesus, let me faithful be, life eternal grant to me.     ~Sigismund von Birken, hymnwriter

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption.  Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.   

(collect for Proper 17, Series A, LSB)

Beloved

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.   Ephesians 5:1-2

Lord God, I wake to a new day.  By your grace and mercy and power enable me to walk–to conduct my life–as Jesus, your beloved Son, walked.  He looked to You and You alone for His marching orders.  He even said that what people saw Him doing was what He saw You doing–loving, forgiving, healing, being merciful.  All that Jesus did was pleasing to You.  The greatest, most pleasing act, was His sacrificial death on the cross.  And it pleased You to raise Him from the dead.  May Your Word and Your plans dwell in me richly this day so that my life may be a pleasing aroma wafting up to You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Witness

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance that what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me [Paul].”  1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Two years of study at the Seminary have concluded.  A year long internship awaits.  To be able to put into practice–relating to, serving, loving, and responding as Jesus would have me do–lies ahead.  And what a privilege it will be.  I believe what St. Paul told the church in Corinth;  Jesus died, but rose three days later…appeared to many…even to one who had been persecuting Him and the Church.  God’s love knows no bounds.  His mercy and forgiveness is for all.  History bears witness.  My heart and life, I pray will also bear witness!

Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for the great news of our salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ.  May we all be as bold as Paul to bear witness to the Truth–Jesus is alive!  Let the Easter story continue to be told on our lips today.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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!

Ponder

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Jesus I will ponder now on Your holy passion;  with Your Spirit me endow for such meditation.  Grant that I in love and faith may the image cherish of Your suff’ring, pain and death that I may not perish.

Make me see Your great distress, anguish and affliction, bonds and stripes and wretchedness and Your crucifixion;  Make me see how scourge and rod, spear and nails did wound You, how for them You died, O God, who with thorns had crowned You.

Yet, O Lord, not thus alone make me see Your passion, but its cause to me make known and its termination.  Ah!  I also and my sin wrought Your deep affliction;  this indeed the cause has been of Your crucifixion.

Grant that I Your passion view with repentant grieving.  Let me not bring shame to You by unholy living.  How could I refuse to shun every sinful pleasure since for me God’s only Son suffered without measure?

If my sins give me alarm and my conscience grieve me, let Your cross my fear disarm; peace of conscience give me.  Help me see forgiveness won by Your holy passion.  If for me He slays His Son, God must have compassion!

Graciously my faith renew;  Help me bear my crosses, learning humbleness from You, peace mid pain and losses.  May I give You love for love!  Hear me, O my Savior, that I may in heav’n above sing Your praise forever.

Hymn text by Sigismund von Birken, 1626-1681

“What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  Romans 8:31-32