To the Lamb!

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
   and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5: 9-10

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13

And the Lamb is Christ our Lord!

Continuing in Easter Joy!

December 15 Cajillions

Image by Sandara Lee

Image by Sandara Lee

Jonah 1:1-4:11;  Revelation 5:1-14;  Psalm 133:1-3;  Proverbs 29:26-27

“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive

power and wealth and wisdom

and might and honor and glory

and blessing!”

And,

I heard every creature in heaven and on earth

and under the earth

and in the sea and all that is in them saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,

be blessing and honor and glory and might

forever and ever!”

And,

the four living creatures said, “Amen!”

and the elders fell down

and worshiped.”

Revelation 5:11-14

Myriads of myriads!  I learned that myriads means ‘millions.’

Millions and thousands and thousands and millions–Angels, ALL in agreement, ALL in ONE voice declaring that ONLY Jesus Christ-the Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive  all that mankind covets–wealth, power, prestige, honor ,glory, wisdom.

And then we hear or see an ad on TV or in a magazine that throws out the phrase “because you’re worth it.”  Really?????  What have we done compared to Christ who gave His life for us on the Cross so that our sins might be forgiven and forever forgotten by our Heavenly Father?

Yet in God’s eyes, because of Jesus, we are worth it–Because of Jesus He’s opened the gates to Heaven to all who believe on His Name.  His love for us and what His Son has done for us makes it all so worth it.

So one day we will be among the cajillions of voices praising the Lamb in Heaven!  And even now, as we worship our voices join with theirs:

“Holy, holy, holy

Lord, God of Sabaoth,

adored;

Heav’n and earth with

full acclaim

shout the glory

of  Your name.

Sing hosanna in the highest,

sing hosanna to the Lord;

Truly blest is He who comes

in the name of the Lord! Amen.”

~Sanctus

May 1 Lamb of God

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Judges 13:1-14:20;  John 1:29-51;  Psalm 102:1-28;  Proverbs 14:15-16

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God,

who takes away the sin of the world!”  John 1:29

Where?

I don’t see a lamb, let alone a lamb from God.

Oh wait, I see a flock of sheep in the distance, maybe there’s a lamb or two there.  Can’t tell from this distance.

Yes, I know that lambs are slaughtered at Passover to take care of our sins once a year.

What a bloody mess.  So much noise, and stink, and blood.

All I see is a man I haven’t seen around here before, and the guy doing the baptizing looked straight at him and said those words about a Lamb of God.

I wonder if that guy realizes he’s been spoken of as a Lamb with all that it implies.

A bloody mess.

Stinking sin.

Death.

Don’t ever call me a Lamb.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being our Lamb–our sacrifice–who willingly let your blood be shed for our sins.  Let us not shrink from the messy talk of sin, of blood, of sacrifice–the not so pretty sight of the Cross.  That messy business of the Cross covered the greater mess of our sinful lives so that we can stand before you now and forever covered with your righteousness.  May we live in gratitude for all you have done for us as the Lamb of God.  In your name we pray, Amen.

 

March 18 Two A Day

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Image by Meliza Celeridad

Numbers 26:52-28:15;  Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 61:1-8;  Proverbs 11:16-17

“The Lord said to Moses, “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘See that you present to me at the appointed time the food for my offering made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me.’  Say to them: ‘This is the offering made by fire that you are to present to the Lord:  two lambs a year old without defect…Prepare one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight…This is the regular burnt offering instituted on Mount Sinai as a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the Lord by fire.”  Numbers 28:1-6

 

“Take two a day, one in the morning, one in the evening.”  Whether it’s vitamins or a prescription drug “two a day” hopefully will guard and preserve health.

The Israelites were prescribed two a day sacrifices to give honor, glory and respect to the God who delivered them out of Egypt.  Two-a- day for spiritual health.

The young, perfect male lambs were laid on the altar, their burning flesh delivered an aroma of obedience and worship to God.

Day after day.  Evening after evening.  Year after year.  Until–

The Perfect Lamb of God, God’s own Son Jesus Christ died once and for all–his death, pleasing in God’s sight.

We who believe and have been washed in Christ’s blood at our Baptism now offer ourselves as “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship.”  Romans 12:1

That means, how we live each day will reflect our trust in the living God and our worship and praise of our Lord and Savior.

Lord God, by your mercies, may we present ourselves to you this day, that all we say and do may be pleasing to you.  By the power of your Spirit and your Word dwelling within may we live today remembering Jesus, the Perfect Lamb, who gave His life for us.  In His name we pray, Amen.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

January 30 Gotcha Covered

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Photo by B Forsman

 

Exodus 10:1-12:13;  Matthew 20:1-28;  Psalm 25:1-15;  Proverbs 6:6-11

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt that night, both man and beast;  and on the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements:  I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”  Exodus 12:12-13

“Are you protected from Mayhem, like me?”

The Israelites would be reminded that God Almighty protected them from the mayhem that afflicted the Egyptians–swarms of locusts, hail, the deaths of all firstborn males-human and animal.  They would remember the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and lintels.  They would remember God’s gracious deliverance of them out of the land of their captivity.

We too are protected from mayhem–sin, death, and the devil–by the blood of the Lamb.  We remember our Savior’s sacrifice of his life on the cross for our sins.  We remember each time we partake in the Lord’s Supper that he saved us from God’s wrath and judgement.  We remember that in our Baptism we were covered by water and the Word — that our sins were forgiven and we were given a new identity in Christ who says, “I gotcha covered–you are mine–you are safe!”

Thank you dear Jesus for covering us with your blood–that the Father’s wrath and judgement passes over us and that he sees us as pure and righteous because of you.  Thank you  for your sacrifice that is beyond our comprehension.  Thank you for your great love and mercy.  May we live this day in gratitude to you and in service to those around us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

“To you O Lord I lift up my soul; 

in you I trust, O my God.”  Psalm 25:1

September 27 Personal

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Vector Art by Chris Vasquez

Isaiah 51:1-53:12;  Ephesians 5:1-23;  Psalm 69:19-36;  Proverbs 24:7

Reading Isaiah today and hearing the prophet’s words about my Savior, I wanted to make this post personal.  I encourage you to meditate on Isaiah’s  words, drinking in the truth about our human condition and the awesomeness of our Lord.

“Surely he has borne my griefs

and carried my sorrows;

yet I esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for my transgressions;

he was crushed from my iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that

brought me peace,

and with his stripes I am healed.

I, like a sheep, have gone astray;

I have turned to my own way;

and the Lord laid on him

all my iniquity.

 

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,and like a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression, and judgement he was taken away;

and as for his generation, who considered

that he was cut off out of the land of the

living,

stricken for my transgressions?

 

And they made his grave with the wicked

and with a rich man in his death,

although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

 

…yet he bore my sins

and made intercession for me.”

Isaiah 53:4-10, 12

 

Dearest Jesus,  you did this all for me–and for every single person who’s ever lived and will live.  Such a sacrifice is beyond understanding!  Because of you, I, too can live–forgiven and free.  Thank you for your love and mercy–and obedience to the Father–that led you to the cross, to suffer and die for my sins–and the sins of the world.  May I live in humble adoration this day and serve you with joy in my heart.  May I imitate you and live as light in this dark world.  In your name I pray, Amen.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us an gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

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Vector Art by Chris Vasquez

 

September 12 Plain Vanilla

ImageIsaiah 10:1-11:16;  2 Corinthians 12:11-21;  Psalm 56:1-13;  Proverbs 23:6-8

“We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ;  and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.”  2 Corinthians 12:19

 

The Corinthian Christians welcomed all varieties of preaching and teaching–the fancier and more expensive the better.

And the Apostle Paul was greatly concerned for them–concerned that they would settle for more than plain vanilla–made from the pure milk of God’s Word and the truth of the Gospel.

They were being tempted to embrace a must-do-in-addition-to-believing practice of outward observances of Old Testament Laws.  A Rocky Road version of salvation.

Paul knew that only plain vanilla would save the Corinthians from false teachings–and from their sins.

Only Jesus and Him crucified saves souls and creates new life in the hearts of those who believe.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him will never perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Simple Faith.

Plain vanilla!

Lord God, many voices proclaim ways to get to heaven–lots of rules, do’s and don’ts, elaborate schemes.  Lord may we stick with pure vanilla–the simple yet profound truth that your great love provides us a way to heaven–faith in Jesus, the sinless lamb of God sacrificed for us.  Forgive us Lord when we pile on “extras” to the Gospel truth because we think they will make it more palatable–easier to swallow.  Help us to always live and love the pure Gospel of Jesus, our Lord.  In His name, we pray, Amen.

July 31 Renewal

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Photo by Matt Gruber

 

2 Chronicles 29:1-36:  Romans 14:1-23:  Psalm 24:1-10;  Proverbs 20:12

“Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king…he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them…(the Levites) went in to purify the temple as the king had ordered, following the word of the Lord.  The priests went in to the sanctuary to purify it.  They brought out everything unclean that they found…so the service of the Lord was reestablished.  Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.”  2 Chronicles 29:1,3,15-16, 35-36

By God’s grace Hezekiah put the kingdom under his rule back on the right path.  Gone was idol worship and closed temple doors.  Open was the heart of the king, the hearts of his people and the doors to the Lord’s house.  True worship was renewed.

By God’s grace I am renewed.

Open the doors to my heart, O Lord,

temple doors shut tight

by sin and wayward ways.

Remove false trappings of self importance

that cover your glory

made dingy and grimy by ego film and dust.

Cleanse me with your gift-blood

and make me pure within

that I may sing your praise.

Lord God, with you renewal is possible!  With repentance on our lips we turn away from our self-made idols and receive cleansing through the blood of the Lamb–your Son our Lord.  Thank you for cleansing us and renewing us.  May the doors of our heart be open for worship and praise this day.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.