You put me on the stretch, O God.

You do me the honor of putting me to the test

as You once tested our Father Abraham.

You bid me do the impossible:

not only to endure

the tempering heat of trial

but to rejoice in it–impossible!


But Your Son did not find it impossible

when You tried Him with failure.

He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit

and gave thanks to You

when You took from Him

the wise and understanding

and revealed Him only to babes,

to the inconsequential little ones

in whom Your love delights.


Your servant Paul found it possible.

Your servant James found it possible.

And You are my Father just as You are theirs.

I thank You for all proofs of Fatherhood.

I thank You for the trials I meet.

Give me the heart to meet them unafraid,

to joy in them as I rejoice in You.  Amen.

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann, Pray For Joy


“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Remembering on this day the trials that began in New York 15 years ago….








Psalm 40:1-5

 I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path, and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing, of praises to our God. Now many will hear of the glorious things he did for me, and stand in awe before the Lord, and put their trust in him.

 Many blessings are given to those who trust the Lord and have no confidence in those who are proud or who trust in idols.

 O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Lord God, many are the cries for help that are rising to you this day.  Cries from Italy.  Cries from Louisiana.  Cries from hospitals.  Cries from the lonely in their homes.  Lord, have mercy.  Hear our prayers for Jesus’ sake and come to our aid that we might in turn tell of the wondrous ways that you have delivered us.  We give you praise for saving us from the deep pit of sin through your Son Jesus Christ who gave His life for us.  You have set our feet firm on the Rock of our salvation through faith.  Steady us as we go through this day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen Him, you love Him.  Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:3-9

Dear Heavenly Father,  There seems to be a lot of celebrating going on in the month of June–weddings, anniversaries, births, and even Heavenly Home comings.  For all of these we give you thanks and praise for the joy and celebration that takes place in these special events.  You are in our midst celebrating along with us.  As we celebrate may we be reminded of the greater joy and celebration that awaits us at your Son’s return to gather us to Himself and to escort us to Paradise.  Keep us in the one true faith even as trials come to us in this world.  Let us rejoice that “you have overcome the world!”  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

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.


Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“Count yourself lucky,

how happy you must be–

you get a fresh start,

your slate wiped clean.

Count yourself lucky–

God holds nothing against you

and you’re holding nothing back from him.

When I kept it all inside,

my bones turned to powder,

my words became day long groans.

The pressure never let up;

all the juices of my life dried up.

Then I let it all out;

I said,

“I’ll make a clean break of my failures to God.”

Suddenly, the pressure was gone.

Everyone of us needs to pray;

when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts

we’re on high ground, untouched.

God’s my island hideaway,

keeps danger far from the shore,

throws garlands of hosannas

around my neck.

Let me give you some good advice;

I’m looking you in the eye

and giving it to you straight:

“Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule

that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.”

God-defilers are always in trouble;

God-affirmers find themselves

loved every time they turn around.

Celebrate God.

Sing together everyone

All you hones, hearts,

raise the roof!”

Psalm 32

~Paraphrased by Eugene Peterson

in The Message

Lord God, because of the gracious work of Christ on the Cross and the gift of faith you have made me a God-affirmer.  By the power of the Holy Spirit I can acknowledge you as Lord of my life.  When my sins wear me down, I can come to you freely, confess them, and receive your unburdening forgiveness.  I can shout Hallelujah, Praise You God!  Thank you for your “island” security and your promise to never leave me alone.  I love you!  Amen.

Facing A Vast Army?

Image by Adrienne Olguin

Image by Adrienne Olguin

“Then Jehosophat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in front of the new courtyard and said:

‘O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in Heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.  O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?  They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.

* * * * *

But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them.  See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us an inheritance.  O our God, will you not judge them?  For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

2 Chronicles 20:6-13

Lord God, you knew of the “vast army” facing us –you knew its tactics, its strength, its means, its plans to destroy us.  And you sent us your Son to do battle for us.  By Jesus’ death on the cross he defeated forever Satan, sin and death’s grip on our lives.  Ours sins are forgiven.  We can use the name of Jesus to ward off Satan’s attacks.  We can look death in the eye and not fear.  Lord, there are other battles that we face day to day because we still are in the world and so we look to you today asking for your strength, your help, your deliverance and we give to you all glory and praise!  We pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen!

“Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength;

we will sing and praise your might.”

Psalm 21:13


Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress

and my deliverer,

my God, my rock, in whom I

take refuge,

my shield, and the horn

of my salvation,

my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord,

who is worthy to be praised,

and I am saved from my enemies.

* * * * *

The cords of death encompassed me;

the torrents of destruction assailed me;

the cords of Sheol entangled me;

the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;

to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,

and my cry to him reached his ears.

* * * * *

Then the earth reeled and rocked;

the foundations also of the mountains

trembled and quaked,

because he was angry.

Smoke went up from his nostrils,

and devouring fire from his mouth;

glowing coals flamed forth from him.

He bowed the heavens and came down;

thick darkness was under his feet.

He rode on a cherub and flew;

he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his covering,

his canopy around him,

thick clouds dark with water.

Out of the brightness before him

hailstones and coals of fire

broke through his clouds.

The Lord also thundered in the heavens

and the Most High uttered his voice,

hailstones and coals of fire.

And he sent out his arrows

and scattered them;

he flashed forth lightnings

and routed them.

Then the channels of the sea were seen,

and the foundations of the earth

were laid bare

at your rebuke, O Lord,

at the blast of the breath

of your nostrils.

* * * * *

He sent from on high,

he took me;

he drew me out of many waters.

He rescued me from my strong enemy

and from those who hated me.

They confronted me in the day of my calamity,

but the Lord was my support.

He brought me out into a broad place;

he rescued me,

because he delighted in me.”

Psalm 18:1-19

* * * * *

Thank you Lord

for saving me

from sin that sweeps

me off my feet

pins me down

shouts “defeat”.

Your strong Word

declares me


No more to hear

the blame

of law

“you can’t,

you won’t,

you didn’t”.


 You can

and will

and do

uphold me

to the end

by grace I have been

saved through faith

not through works

lest I  should boast

in anything

but in You my Savior!


Spirit Built

Image by Chad Graham

Image by Chad Graham

Lots of kingdom building took place in Israel under King David.  David looked around him in wonder at all God had done through him.  He lived in a palace of cedar, yet God still only had a tent as His dwelling.  David longed to change that but God had other plans.  Through the prophet Nathan God unveiled His blueprint for His heavenly house which includes you and me and all who believe:

“I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you:  when your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish your kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever.  I will be his father, and he will be my son.  I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor.  I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.”

1 Chronicles 17:10-14

* * * * *


Son of David,

Son of God

is that son of prophet’s


And we who believe

make up His house

living stone by

living stone

established in Him


* * * * *

“As you come to him, the living stone…

you also, like living stones, are being built into

a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood

offering spiritual sacrifices

acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

But you are a chosen people,

a royal priesthood,

a holy nation,

a people belonging to God,

that you may declare the praise

of Him who called you

out of darkness

into His wonderful light.”

1 Peter 2:4-5,9

Lord God, like King David we sometimes have plans to do something great for you.  Through your Word you gently remind us that You have Your own plans for us.  Lord, open our hearts and minds to see and do the work you have planned for us.  In our everyday lives help us to be found faithful to you and that you find praise on our lips.  In your great mercy you have called us to be a part of your spiritual house.  Thank you!  May we do our part–to the glory of your holy name.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God Hears Our Cries

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

The curse of sin

followed me in

the day

I entered this world.

This common condition,

Adam’s addition,

to God’s most perfect


gave birth

to a promise

kept by my Savior

who broke my bonds of sin.

Baptismal waters

covered me

God’s Word did

all the rest

Made me an heir

a child of Grace


the Gates of Heaven.

I am blessed!

* * * * *

“Jabez was more honorable

than his brothers.

His mother named him Jabez,


“I gave birth to him

in pain.”

Jabez cried out

to the God of Israel,

“Oh, that you would bless me

and enlarge my territory!

Let your hand be with me,

and keep me from harm

so that I will be free from pain.”

And God granted his request.”

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

* * * * *

Lord God, we were born into the pain of sin and it would have followed us all the days of our lives had you not stepped in to break its power.  You provided Your
Son, our Savior, who keeps us from all harm and danger.  Through the gift of faith we believe that eternal pain no longer awaits us at the time of judgement.  The blood of Your Son covers over all our unrighteousness.  For that we give you great thanks and praise!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.