The Voice of the Lord

REUTERS/Richard Carson

REUTERS/Richard Carson

“Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;  worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

May the Lord give strength to his people!  May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:1-4, 10-11

Hurricane Harvey and the hiddenness of God.  We ask the question “why,” but God on His throne who is beyond our understanding doesn’t give us the answer.  His voice however booms “I am with you always.  I will never leave you nor forsake you!  I will give you strength!  I will give you peace!”

God the Father gave us His Son, Jesus, who stemmed the damning flood of sin in our lives by shedding His blood for us.  And by His almighty power He raised Jesus from the dead. His powerful voice now bids us to call upon Him in the day of trouble–In the midst of deep waters, call to Him, and He will answer!

Lord God, we see the rising flood waters and are afraid.  Please turn our eyes to Jesus who sits at Your right Hand in Heaven.  Help us to trust in Him during these difficult times.  We trust in Your faithfulness to hear our prayer for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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Running the Race

Graphic by Boaz Crawford

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Lord, You give my spirit strength to restrain the passion of the flesh.  Whatever is good in me comes from You, the font of all good things, because in me, by nature, there is nothing but sin.  I have to acknowledge that all good works I do–which are nevertheless impure because of the corruption and imperfection of my flesh–are gifts of Your grace.  I will give You thanks forever because of Your immeasurable gift to me.  Amen      ~prayer by Lutheran Theologian,Johann Gerhard, 1582-1637.

In The Lord

Photo by Chris Meirose

“In the Lord I take refuge;

how can you say to my soul,

“Flee like a bird to your mountain,

for behold, the wicked bend the bow;

they have fitted their arrow

to the string to shoot in the dark

at the upright in heart;

if the foundations are destroyed,

what can the righteous do?

The Lord is in his holy temple;

the Lord’s throne is in heaven;

his eyes see, his eyelids test,

the children of man.

Let him rain coals on the wicked;

fire and sulfur and a scorching wind

shall be the portion of their cup.

For the Lord is righteous;

he loves righteous deeds;

the upright shall behold his face.”

Psalm 11

Troubled world, troubled people

striking out blindly but boldly in the name of their cause.

Whether race, economics, politics, or creed

all are in vain for none of them can save.

Only One can save, give peace;

the One who gave His life as a ‘ransom for many’

for you, for me.

Turn away from strife, pride, ego, self-seeking

Turn to Him–Jesus Christ–who makes us new creations

through faith–

New creations capable of loving and forgiving and reconciling

peoples of all races, economics, politics and creed.

In the name of Jesus

Believe.

Lord God Heavenly Father, when we were dead in our sins You came to us and gave us life in Your Name.  Through the Water and the Word you placed your name–Father, Son and Holy Spirit upon us.  We are Yours.  Open our mouths that we might declare your praise in this world where many other voices can be heard.  May Your sweet Gospel ring true above the din.  We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

O keep me watchful, then, and humble;

Permit me nevermore to stray.

Uphold me when my feet would stumble,

And keep me on the narrow way.

Fill all my nature with Thy light,

O radiance strong and bright!

~Johann Scheffler, 1624-77

 

 

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

 

Above All!

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation

 in the knowledge of him,

having the eyes of your heart enlightened,

that you may know what is the hope

to which he has called you,

what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power

towards us who believe,

according to the working of his great might

that he worked in Christ

when he raised him from the dead

and seated him at his right hand

in the heavenly places far above all rule and authority

and power and dominion,

and above every name that is named,

not only in this age but also in the age to come.

And he put all things under his feet

and gave him as head over all things to the church,

which is his body,

the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

Ephesians 1:16-22

Lord,  help us to remember today and always that you alone are God and to you alone belongs our devotion and praise and trust.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Awake!

Awake O sleeper, rise from death, and Christ shall give you light;  So learn His love, its length and breadth, its fullness, depth and height.

To us on earth He came to bring from sin and  fear release, to give the Spirit’s unity, the very bond of peace.

Then walk in love as Christ has loved, Who died that He might save;  with kind and gentle hearts forgive as God in Christ forgave.

For us Christ lived, for us He died, and conquered in the strife;  awake, arise, go forth in faith, and Christ shall give you life.  ~ hymn by F. B. Tucker

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15-16

Lord God, as we anticipate celebrating Independence Day in America may we remember the greater freedom won for us through Jesus Christ on the Cross.  We are both citizens of heaven and earth so we thank you for the gift of freedoms allowed to us under the Constitution.  Bless all the lawmakers and lawkeepers of this land that we might live in peace.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus

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Let us ever walk with Jesus, follow His example pure, through a world that would deceive us and to sin our spirits lure.  Onward in His footsteps treading, pilgrims here, our home above, full of faith and hope and love, let us do the Father’s bidding.  Faithful Lord, with me abide;  I shall follow where You guide.

Let us suffer here with Jesus and with patience bear our cross.  Joy will follow all our sadness;  where He is, there is no loss.  Though today we sow no laughter, we shall reap celestial joy;  all discomforts that annoy shall give way to mirth and hereafter.  Jesus, here I share Your woe;  help me there Your joy to know.

Let us gladly die with Jesus.  Since by His death He conquered death, He will free us from destruction, give to us immortal breath.  Let us mortify all passion that would lead us into sin;  and the grave that shuts us in shall but prove the gate to heaven.  Jesus, here with You I die, there to live with You on high.

Let us also live with Jesus.  He has risen from the dead that to life we may awaken.  Jesus You are now our head.  We are Your own living members; where You live, there we shall be in Your presence constantly, living there with You forever.  Jesus, let me faithful be, life eternal grant to me.     ~Sigismund von Birken, hymnwriter

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption.  Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.   

(collect for Proper 17, Series A, LSB)