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

 

God’s Face

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“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
   the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

Numbers 6: 24-26

Lord God, thank You for turning Your face towards us through Your Son Jesus Christ who always kept His face turned on You.  Even on the Cross when You turned away from Him because He was covered with the filth of all our sins He turned to You and asked You to forgive us.  And You did.  We don’t deserve anything good from Your Hand, but because of Jesus You lavish upon us Your never ending goodness and mercy and love.  How great is Your love for us!  May we share Your peace with those we meet this day.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

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

Without A Doubt

DSCF006519 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, [i]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Didymus (the twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later His disciples were again inside the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors had been barred, and stood among them and said, Peace to you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but [stop doubting and] believe.” 28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, and favored by God] are they who did not see [Me] and yet believed [in Me].”

30 There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.  John 20:19-31 Amplified Bible

 

Without a doubt God gives us what we need to hear about who He is, what He’s done, and what He continues to do through the lives of those who believe in Him.

We may not be given all the answers to all the questions that we have, but we have enough.

Doubts come to us all at some point.  Like Thomas we want proof such as nail holes and a spear gash that we can touch and see.

And yet, we do have tangible signs of His presence in our lives–the Waters of Baptism, the Bread and Wine and His Word which is living and active. These all do wonderful things to us and for us in our lives of faith.

We may have our doubts, but God has us firmly in the palm of His Hand!

Thank You Lord for giving us Your Word which never fails!  Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit that gives us insight into Your truth and strengthens our faith.  Continue to draw us to You through Your precious Word, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

Anything Good?

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Many are asking, “Who can show us anything good?”

Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.

You have filled my heart with greater joy

than when their grain

and new wine abound.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,

for you alone, O Lord,

make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:6-8

* * * * *

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Lord God, You are good.  When we look for something “good” in this world it dims in light of Your grace and mercy.  You have given us peace in our hearts by turning Your face towards us–we have seen You face to face through Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord who obediently became the sacrifice for our sins.  There are no greater riches than the freedom from sin and guilt found in Your forgiveness.  Help us to live this day in joyful response to all of Your good gifts to us. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

May 19 A Wise Woman’s Rescue

Photo by Julie Ayers

Photo by Julie Ayers

1 Samuel 24:1-25:44; John 10:22-42; Psalm 116:1-19;  Proverbs 15:20-21

“Then David moved down into the desert of Maon.  A certain man in Maon who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy.  He had a thousand sheep which he was shearing in Carmel.  His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail.  Se was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings.”

* * * * *

“One of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail: “David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them.  Yet, these men were good to us.  They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing.  Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them.  Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household.  He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

* * * * *

“Abigail lost no time…”

Armed with loads of food and an apology Abigail sought out David.

To David she said,

“And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master be given to the men who followed you.  Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord will make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fight’s the Lord’s battles.”

* * * * *

“David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me.  May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed this day.

Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace.  I have heard your words and granted your request.”

1 Samuel 25

Lord, thank you for the wise woman, Abigail whose words and generous actions averted certain doom for both her husband and for David.  She was quick thinking and quick acting–and she feared you more than she feared her husband whom she knew was ill-tempered and foolish.  She trust you above all.  You worked something good out the wrong done to David and his men.  May this story be one of encouragement–that you equip us as needed with words and actions that overcome evil with good.  Open our eyes Lord to opportunities to do just that when we encounter wrongs and injustices.  May we serve others just as Abigail served; just as you came not to be served, but to serve and to give your very life as a ransom for our sins.  Nabal didn’t deserve his wife’s timely intervention.  And neither did we deserve your merciful intervention, but because of your great love and your promise to send a Savior, we are indeed rescued; we are saved!  Thank you Jesus!  In your Name we pray, Amen.

“Do not be overcome with evil,

but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:21

May 7 Prayer Life

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“He spake a parable unto them…that men ought to pray,

and not to faint.”  Luke 18:1

No temptation in the life of intercession is more common than this of failure to persevere.  We begin to pray for a certain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a week, a month; and then, receiving as yet no definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease altogether from prayer concerning it.

This is a deadly fault.  It is simply the snare of many beginnings with no completions.  It is ruinous in all spheres of life.

The man who forms the habit of beginning without finishing has simply formed the habit of failure.  The man who begins to pray about a thing and does not pray it through to a successful issue of answer has formed the same habit in prayer.

To faint is to fail; then defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaith in the reality of prayer,which is fatal to all success.

But someone says, “How long shall we pray?  Do we not come to a place where we may cease from our petitions and rest the matter in God’s hands?”

There is but one answer.  Pray until the thing you pray for as actually been grantedor you have the assurance in your heart that it will be.

Only at one of these two places dare we stay our importunity, for prayer is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict with Satan.  And inasmuch as God is using our intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when we dare cease from our petitioning.  So we dare not stay our prayer until the answer itself has come, or until we receive the assurance that it will come.

In the first case, we stop because we see.  In the other, we stop because we believe, and the faith of our hearts is just as sure as the sight of our eyes;  for it is faith from, yes, the faith of God, within us.

More and more, as we live the prayer life, shall we come to experience and recognize this God-given assurance and know when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our petitioning until we receive it. ~ FROM THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER

Tarry at the promise till God meets you there.

He always returns by way of His promises.

~ Selected

* * * * *

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,

by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,

present your requests to God.

And the peace of God which transcends

all understanding, will guard your hearts

and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Lord God, on this Day of Prayer we give you thanks for the gift of prayer;  for being able to call out to you in Heaven and know that we are heard.  We thank for you for Jesus whose death paid the penalty for our sin and whose blood now clothes us with his righteousness allowing us to come presentable in your sight.  Lord, hear the many prayers coming to you this day as believers across this nation lift hearts and hands to you on its behalf.  Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.