Alas

suzie galagher

Photo by suzie gallagher

Alas! And did my Savior bleed, and did my sovereign die?  Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?  Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut his glories in when God, the mighty maker, died for His own creatures’ sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face while His dear cross appears, dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe; here, Lord, I give myself away: ‘Tis all that I can do.

Hymn Text by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19-20

 

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.

Red White Blue

Flag Yvonne Harrison

Photo by Yvonne Harrison

Country lost in red white and blue

Too many walking in shades of gray to notice colors bright

Beckoning eyes to see beyond hatred

And prejudice

To see in those around them

those whom God has created.

Country lost in red white and blue

Desperately seeking peace

In the promises of men

Who stand before them

As answers to empty pockets and empty souls.

Country lost in red white and blue

Look to the One

Who alone provides for sparrows as well as kings.

Whose Wisdom reaches down from Heaven

Whose love and mercy never end.

Country lost in red white and blue

See the Cross where the Savior bled

And appeared abandoned by one and all.

The weak resignation

Belied the power wherein

The Son of God battled with sin and death and the evil one

And won

Freedom for the red white and blue

For all who believe that “greater is He who is within us

Than he who is in the world.”

Our God reigns

No matter the color of the flag

No matter the left or the right

No matter whether you believe or not

Our God reigns

And will keep the world spinning until

He comes again.

L.J.

“His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.”

Psalm 147:10-11

Future Glory

Spring Trio

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, although the world has not know You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:22-26

Lord God, what is glorious about being Your Child is that I am one with you–Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And I am one with all those who call upon Your Name in faith.  The words that You spoke to Your disciples are words meant for every believer.  By Your Spirit may Your love be shed abroad through me in word and deed that the world may know You.  Forgive me for my pettiness, my divisiveness, my self-serving attitude that would seek glory for itself.  Thank You for loving me, for giving me identity and purpose in this life.  To You and You alone I give all glory and praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Gentle Voice

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn our day and age we hear so many voices coming from all kinds of places seeking our attention or offering direction.   We are bombarded it seems with voices, voices, voices of politicians, advertisers, families, friends, authors, teachers, pastors, and even strangers (on TV, radio, internet).  Sometimes the voice we hear is our own voice inside our head telling us ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’, ‘good job’, or ‘you really blew it’.  What voice to you listen to?  Whose voice do you seek?

Whose voice provides you with unconditional love?  Comfort?   Trustworthy guidance?  One that always speaks the truth and gives you no reason to doubt?  That never condemns you?  That you would follow blindfolded?

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold;  I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”  John 10:14-16

Hear Jesus call your name today.  He is your Good Shepherd.  He leads you to green pastures with still waters.  He tends to your wounds with oil.  He gently leads you.  He goes before you checking for danger, ever watchful.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  He will lead you home.

Dear Jesus,  You are my Good Shepherd.  Your gentle voice guides me and directs me through life’s challenging ways.  Thank you for calling me by name and claiming me for your own.  Thank you for your protection and your care.  Above all, thank you for laying down your life for me on the Cross; for paying the penalty of my sin and bearing my punishment upon yourself.   In your name I pray, Amen.

Generous

image by lovefortheunderdog.org

image by lovefortheunderdog.org

“The point is this:  whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our our righteousness.

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

* * * * *

Ellen DeGeneres is generous.

Every day on her show someone in need benefits from her generosity.

And it is usually because Ellen has learned of their generosity or selfless acts.

Recently a school boy who bakes and sells cookies to help support his mom and himself received a car from Ellen.

The audience cheered.

The mom and the boy and Ellen shared a group hug.

Each time that I see this kind of generosity I’m reminded of the greatest act of generosity ever given–that of our Heavenly Father giving His only Son to die for our sins and to give us a brand new life–and we didn’t even do a thing to deserve such a great gift!

God continues to lavish on us His gifts of grace and love and mercy–so much so that it spills over out of our lives to touch the lives of others.

The Corinthian Christians had experienced God’s healing touch and lavish grace within their troubled congregation.  Their outward response was pledging to help the needy saints in Jerusalem.  St. Paul told them God would supply them with all they would need to fulfill that pledge.  Thanksgiving would abound.

How can we be generous with God’s gifts to us this week?

Lord God, your great love for us overflows in all that you do for us.  We thank and praise you for forgiving our sins and making us whole.  May we freely share these good gifts with those around us whether with a good word, a smile, a five dollar bill or a bottle of water.  Let us love and care for others even as we are loved and cared for by you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“I will praise your  great compassion

Faithful Father, God of grace,

That with all our fallen race

In our depth of degredation

You had mercy so that we

Might be saved eternally.”

~ Johannes Olearius

A personal note:  For the last three years I’ve had the privilege of writing daily devotions on my blog “What’s the Good Word?”  Through this wonderful blogging community I’ve learned much, grown much and cherished the interactions with you. Tomorrow I begin full time studies as a graduate student at Concordia Seminary.  My time for blogging may be at a premium, and I just wanted to let you know that I will still be checking in, but perhaps not as regularly as I have in the past.  May you continue to be in God’s Word daily and let it richly dwell in you.  Let’s stay in touch!   Blessings ~ Laura

A Better Way

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Knowledge puffs up,

but love builds up.

The man who think he knows

something

does not yet know as he ought.

But the man who loves God

is known by God.”

1 Corinthians 8:1-3

* * * * *

God knows our hearts–

and loves us anyway!

He sees our chest-thumping,

finger pointing,

head enlarging ways

and bids us

come to Him,

 to let His love

be our guide

in this world.

Let His love which is

patient and kind,

not boastful or proud

nor rude or self-seeking,

easily angered or delighted in evil,

but protecting, trusting,

hoping, and persevering

rule our hearts and minds,

and maybe,

just maybe,

the world will see

a difference

in us.

Lord, grant this for Jesus’ sake,

Amen!