Boundless Love

Jesus, Thy boundless love to me no thought can reach, no tongue declare; Unite my thankful heart to Thee, and reign without a rival there!  Thine wholly, Thine alone I am; be Thou alone my constant flame.

O grant that nothing in my soul may dwell, but Thy pure love alone; oh, may Thy love possess me whole, my joy, my treasure and my crown!  All coldness from my heart remove;  my every act, word, thought be love.

This love unwearied I pursue and dauntlessly to Thee aspire.  Oh, may Thy love my hope renew, burn in my soul like heav’nly fire!  And day and night,  be all my care to guard this sacred treasure there.

In suff’ring be Thy love my peace, in weakness be Thy love my pow’r; and when the storms of life shall cease, O Jesus, in that final hour, be Thou my rod and staff and guide, and draw me safely to Thy side!

Hymn text by Paul Gerhardt, 1703-91

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us.”  Ephesians 1:7-8

Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for your boundless, endless mercy and love which you poured out upon us through your dear Son, Jesus Christ!  You never stop forgiving us.  You never stop loving us even when we are at our most unloveable.  Help us to remember the gift of grace you gave to us at our Baptism that continues to bless and benefit us each and every day.  Accept our humble thanks and praise.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

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Grace Life

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

in which you formerly walked according

to the course of this world,

according to the prince of the power of the air,

of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

Among them we too all formerly live

in the lusts of our flesh,

indulging the desires of our flesh and of the mind,

and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

But God, being rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in our transgressions,

made us alive together with Christ

(by grace you have been saved),

and raised up with Him,

and seated with Him

in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

so that in the ages to come

He might show the surpassing riches

of His grace in kindness

toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith;

and that not of yourselves,

it is the gift of God.”

Ephesians 2: 1-8

Lord God, thank you for making us alive through Christ Jesus our Lord!  Amen.

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.