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

Living Water

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Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain, sinners, ruined by the fall;  Here a pure and healing fountain flows for you, for me, for all, in a full, perpetual tide, opened when our Savior died.

Come in poverty and meanness, come defiled, without, within; from infection and uncleanness, from the leprosy of sin, wash your robes and make them white; you shall walk with God in light.

Come in sorrow and contrition, wounded, impotent, and blind; here the guilty, free remission, here the troubled, peace may find.  Health this fountain will restore; they that drink shall thirst no more.

They that drink shall live forever; ’tis a soul renewing flood.  God is faithful; God will never break His covenant of blood, signed when our Redeemer died, sealed when He was glorified.

Hymn text by James Montgomery, 1771-1854

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”  John 7:37-38

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

 

Jesus, Refuge of the Weary

 

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Photo by Laura Jostes

Jesus, refuge of the weary, blest Redeemer whom we love, Fountain in life’s desert dreary, Savior from the world above;  Often have Your eye, 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-encrircled 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

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12